Please welcome this week’s guest Martha Rogers for The Journey. She answers the question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey?
Journey with God
Although writing and telling stories have been a passion since I was a child, publication never seemed to be an option. I had no idea how to even begin the process. Teachers in high school English and college professors told me that I had gift for putting words on paper, but I still had a bit of a problem with mechanics. That problem led me to minor in English along with my Home Economics major. Then my love of writing led to a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis on creative writing and teaching composition.
My first novel was born during my freshman year at Baylor University in the spring of 1954, and I still have the original, yellowed pages and all. Then life intervened with a husband and three sons and a teaching career that spanned thirty-six years. All this time I wrote short stories and jotted down ideas for novels.
Looking back, I can see God’s hand working through all those years of childhood, college, and adulthood when my imagination took flight in stories for my paper dolls and baby dolls and filled a file drawer with poems, short stories, and notes for novels scribbled on yellow tablets. He knew from the beginning where my journey would end, but it would take many, many years for the dream to be fulfilled.
After a wonderful novella with DiAnn Mills, Janice Thompson, and Kathleen Y’Barbo was published in 2007, I thought my time had come. However, God’s ideas and plan differed from mine, and nothing happened. Hope for anything more than the novella, articles in magazines, and stories in compilations all but dissolved when my seventieth birthday rolled around. Who wants to take a chance on an author in the winter season of life? My agent, Tamela Hancock Murray, encouraged me not to stop, and she continued to submit my proposals.
All that time I asked God if He knew how old I was getting and how late it was. Of course He knew. I simply wasn’t ready. God used the next two years to teach me more about writing and what it took to be offered a contract.
That’s when Debbie Marrie at Strang, now Charisma, came into the picture. The company had decided to step into historical fiction for their Realms fiction line. She liked my story and took a chance on this older than usual writer and on my seventy-third birthday offered a contract for Becoming Lucy. God placed my manuscript on the right desk at the right time to begin the fulfillment of my dream. Since that time, twelve novels and two additional novellas have been published with number thirteen hitting the bookstores this month.
My goal now is to write as much as possible in the time left whether it’s one more year or ten more years. I want to get all the stories in my head out there. With two bouts of cancer behind me, the Lord has a purpose for keeping me around, and I don’t want to miss any opportunity.
Patience has never been a virtue of mine, but God has taught me to wait for His timing, His timing is always perfect. He taught me to persevere even when hopelessness tried to set in. He reminded me that His plans for me were filled with hope. My prayers were heard and answered when God chose the right people and the right time.
After seventy-eight years, a lot of life is under the bridge as well as so many experiences of God’s grace and mercy in my life. Through my stories others can see how great our God is.
So my writing advice for the day is to pray, be patient, and persevere on your journey. If writing and being a published author is God’s plan for your life, He will make it happen.
Martha Rogers is a free-lance writer and was named Writer of the Year at the Texas Christian Writers Conference in 2009 and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston where they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren. A former English and Home Economics teacher, Martha loves to cook and experimenting with recipes and loves scrapbooking when she has time. She has written two series, Winds Across the Prairie and Seasons of the Heart as well as several novellas. Love Stays True and Love Finds Faith, the first two books in her new series, The Homeward Journey, are available now with book number three being released in the fall of 2014.