Sunday, August 16, 2009


Over the years, many have asked, “What’s it like to be a writer?” In fact, I get the gamut of comments and questions—everything from, “How does anybody write a one-inch thick book when I can barely write a one-paragraph Email?” to “How long does it take to write a book?” to “Have you always been a writer?” to “How in the world do you come up with all those ideas?”

Great questions! Each one gets a different answer, of course, but my overall response is that God Himself planted in my mind and soul an earnest desire to write, and I truly experienced a “calling on my life” – probably in much the same way a minister or missionary or any church worker might experience. And because of that calling, He is the one who ultimately equips me with the tools I need to complete the task.

Have I always written? Interestingly, no. I am 60-years-old, but I didn’t complete my first full manuscript till the “well-seasoned” age of 52. Why? Well, in short, many things in life impassion me—my spiritual walk with Christ, my darling husband, daughters, grandchildren, music, reading, traveling, and, until retiring from 31 years of teaching in 2003, my career! I did not know I had room for one more passion, but God did! And in the year 2000, He began to plant a seed.

It started with a dream that I’d written a book. I, of course, shoved it aside as silly. A book. Imagine me writing a book. Yes, I’d always been a creative writer in school, my essays and term papers usually earning me ‘A’ grades, and I had dabbled in scribbling off foolish high school romances back in 11th and 12th grades. But then college came, then marriage, and children, a career in education, my involvement in church activities, a vocal music ministry. And the list continues. Plainly put, writing was the very last thing on my mind.

So, why ever would I dream I’d written a book? But then it recurred at least two or three times more, the same dream. – I had written a book. – I recalled having earlier asked God to show me what He would have me do with the second half of my life once I finally did decide to retire from teaching, and pleading that He would lead me into an area in which I could make a difference in the lives of others. I wanted my life to count, to touch hearts for eternity. Was it possible He wanted me to attempt writing an entire novel? And if I did, what would it even be about? Again, I prayed. And this time my prayer was, “Lord, I am willing to travel the path You set out for me. Take me out of the equation and simply work in and through my spirit. I surrender all.”

And that was the key! My surrendered heart. One sunny summer day in the year 2000, I sat down at my computer and began to write, and let me tell you, the ideas literally poured from my brain, down through my arms, and onto that keyboard! And my brand-spankin’ new passion came into existence!

Did I immediately find a publisher? Absolutely not. Timing is everything, namely, God’s timing. I had much to learn in this new realm I found myself – writing seminars and conferences to attend, books to read on the craft itself, not to mention mountains of information to gather about the writing/publishing industry. And then it still took years before I reached a point of readiness and my books found a home in the wonderful place known as Whitaker House.

I think if I have learned anything on this journey, it is this: God is simply NOT done with us until He says so. Oh, how He loves a willing heart, no matter our age or stage in life. If you put yourself out there and say, “God, I would love for You to take my life and use it in a way that can be effective for Your kingdom—and will bring You honor and glory,” well, He doesn’t take that lightly. No, He is right on that prayer!

Whether you are an office assistant, a daycare provider, a banker, a contractor, a stay-at-home mom, a single parent, a factory worker, or a mail carrier—whatever your pursuit in life, God has plans that go beyond your imaginings. He is always looking for “harvest workers”. I challenge you to pray the prayer of surrender—and then watch what He does to fulfill His purpose in your life.

A surrendered life equals one exciting adventure!


Shar MacLaren


Robin Shope said...

Shar, you are such a trail blazer and inspiration to us all. I totally love your generous spirit and how you are such an encourager.
You are my fave author!

Edwina said...

I was truly blessed by your blog. In my short foray into the writing world, there have been so many times I have wondered if I had heard God correctly. Your blog has given me much encouragement!

Thank you for sharing!


Rob Roush said...


Your post was truly inspiring. It seems like so much of your story resonates with my own. It is absolutely encouraging to think that perhaps you are where I'll be in 5-10 years.

Thanks for sharing!

Sharlene MacLaren said...

Dear Robin, Edwina, and Rob,

Wow, you have all inspired ME!!! Thank you. It is truly a blessing to be able to reach out and touch another life with my meager, humbly written words. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I pray you will ALL experience God's guidance as you move forward with your writing passions. God is indeed good and gracious! Stay the course!


Crystal said...

I agree, you have to surrender it all to Him!! He is waiting so patiently to lead us and bring about his will for us all. He is taking my to Kuwait City with my surrendered heart and i couldn't be more thrilled about the plans he has for me and my family. God is so good!!!!!! Blessings to you, Shar~

Sharlene MacLaren said...

Dearest Crystal, I have just visited your blog, read up on all your latest *exciting* news, and left you a post to your most recent entry. OH. MY. WORD, CRYSTAL!
This is amazing. Kuwait City! People, go click on Crystal's blog and read about her, her wonderful doctor husband, her delightful houseful of children, and their upcoming move to a country where I KNOW they are going to make a huge impact and be a tremendous blessing to people who need to know Jesus!


CatMom said...

Great post, Shar. And one I might need to refer back to - LOL! ~ Seriously, your words truly spoke to my heart (some similarities in our lives) and I felt uplifted reading about your journey to becoming a published author.~ LOVE your books....and YOU! :)
Hugs, Patti Jo

K.M. Weiland said...

I love the idea that our writing must be surrendered to God to be truly worth anything. He gives us a gift, but it's our responsibility to give it back to Him.

Sharlene MacLaren said...

Hi, Patti Jo and K.M. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave your comments. So glad to hear my words spoke to you. Stay on those writing paths, my friends. God has good things in store!