I’d like to offer encouragement to anyone who feels they have passed the time in their lives when they can be of service to the Lord. Let me share my own story and remind you that God is no respecter of persons. He doesn’t play favorites. If it happened to me, it could happen to anyone according to His will. I pray after reading my story, you’ll realize God can and will use us at any age in surprising and wondrous ways.
During my five years of college, earning both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, I wrote academically—essays, required papers, book reports, a thesis. On the job teaching elementary children, I wrote lesson plans and student evaluations. But never anything that required plotting and creating a fictional story.
After thirty-four years, I retired and took up scrapbooking and card making, however, as I pasted pictures in my album and stamped cards, I found a story lurking in my brain. I could see the setting, a college campus, and the characters. But I had no idea what it meant.
One day at my daughter’s house, I told her the story, and it unfolded in my mind even more. She listened spellbound and finally said she thought I should write it. With her words, a spark lit inside me. I knew that I couldn’t not write. And there were other stories, too, begging to be told.
I joined ACFW and the scribe’s group, but none of the authors I encountered were anywhere close to my age. Remember, I was a grandmother and now—a great grandmother. I was way too old to start another career, and how was I to learn how to write fiction? The more my first story filled the pages, the more I realized how much I didn’t know. So, I plodded along to see where the Lord would take me.
Then I came across another author who was about my age. Martha Rogers. I wrote her an email, and she wrote one back with lots of encouragement. In scribes, I met a wonderful mentor with tons of patience and wisdom. Fay Lamb graciously pointed out my writing mistakes and offered excellent suggestions on how to improve my craft. I poured over dozens of “how to” books as well.
Then there was the matter of publication. Was I to try to get my stories out there? I frequently wear my feelings on my sleeve and hate rejections. So, with the first no, thank you letter, I figured I’d give up. But the Lord spurred me on and taught me how to deal with the negative responses. I kept a file of all my rejection letters and decided to paper my office wall with them.
Then one day, I received an email from a small press with an offer of a three-book contract. I screamed so loud, my husband came running from the bedroom to see if I was okay. But after that the we’re not interested letters continued to come, and I still had lots of room for improvement. (I’m still working on that today.) Several other presses I truly wanted to work for said no with a capital N.
But fast forward to today. The story ideas continue to flow, and I’m now settled in with a great publishing house and awesome editor. To date, 27 of my novels are published, and there are more in the works.
God uses me today to share my stories of redemption and grace, something I’d never dreamed would happen. He wants to use you, too. Ephesians 3:20 says “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”