By Sharlene MacLaren
I didn’t write my first word of fiction until age 52. I had just come through a year of clinical depression (1999-2000), and I knew I needed a purpose, something that would make me excited about getting up in the morning. “God, please reveal to me what I can do for You,” I prayed. “I long to serve You better, take the focus off myself, and make an impact on others that will have eternal value.” I recall surrendering everything to Jesus in that moment. I even envisioned myself walking to the foot of the cross and carefully laying down that prayer request. I definitely wanted, even needed, to make my life count for Jesus.
One night not long after praying that specific prayer, I had a dream that I had written a novel. I thought it such an odd dream and attributed it to my having read so many books lately, so I dismissed it. But then I dreamt it again – and again. What in the world? I could write, but I’d certainly never written a novel. In fact, the last time I had dabbled in writing fiction was as a 16-year-old when I could fill up a spiral notebook with teenage romance stories! Not since then had I attempted to write even the shortest story.
I started wondering what I would write about if I did write a novel, and a whole plot developed in my head, so I decided to sit down at my trusty desktop and at least try. The second I put my fingers to the keyboard, a seed rooted itself in my soul, and my passion was born! Yes, it happened that fast.
I did not publish for six years after that, so, no, just because God gave me a writing gift didn’t mean He’d also wrapped it up in a neat little package, tied a pretty bow around it, then magically dropped my first book into the hands of an editor and said, “Here, publish this!” Ha. No, there was work to be done on my part, conferences and workshops to attend, submissions to be made to which I received plenty of rejections letters, books to read on the subject, more work on my part, more rejection, acquiring an agent, more practice, more honing, and the list grew. Finally, the day came when my publishing debut became a reality, and guess what–I was 58 years old!
Now, 18 published books later… I’m still going, and, yes, this year I’ll be 69, and my 19th book will release in 2019. I’m humbled and honored to be serving God in this manner.
I tell you this story for one reason only. If you have a deep longing in your heart to do something for the Lord, whether it be writing, speaking, teaching, editing, publishing–and you want to make a difference in the lives of others–and you pray, “Here I am, God, take me, use me,” He is going to run with that prayer. You can be sure of it. (Your age never matters. God doesn’t care how old/young you are. He just wants your surrendered hearts! That’s it, friends.) Are you fully surrendered to God’s desires for your life? Are you willing to do the work that comes with God’s gifts? He gives the gift, but He wants you to share it.
we are the clay, and You are our potter;
and we all are the work of Your hand.”
Sharlene MacLaren launched into writing in the summer of 2000, and since then has published almost 20 novels, most of which are 3- and 4-book historical series. Besides writing, she loves to read, travel with her husband of almost 42 years, shop for home décor, spend time with her two married daughters and her lovely five grandchildren, and stay busy in her home church working with women’s groups and teaching Bible studies. She has traveled the country doing book-signings, radio and TV interviews, and attending book retail conventions and writing conferences. Shar lives with her husband Cecil and their two beloved pets in Spring Lake, Michigan. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.