It’s a Matter of Timing
By Linda Shenton Matchett
When I was growing up, being on time was a big deal. Promptness meant arriving at least fifteen minutes early. Arriving on-the-dot meant we were late, and being late was inexcusable. Now, all these decades later, I’m still typically early for appointments or events. But I don’t always catch on with regard to God’s timing in my life. I’m sure He’s late, when in fact he’s perfectly on time, and as always, I’m too early.
When I was in elementary school, my folks gave me a notebook that featured a bouquet of pencils on the cover and told me to fill it. I’ve been writing ever since. But it wasn’t until about twelve years ago I decided to seek publication. I decided it was time for me to be an author, so I wrote a delightful (or so I thought) story about a jilted young woman who moves to the West for a fresh start. Once I typed “The End,” I sent my “great American novel” to publishers.
It seemed as quickly as I mailed the manuscript, I received rejections. I was crushed until I received an encouraging rejection (is that an oxymoron?) from one editor who took time to indicate where she saw potential in my skills but also areas that needed improvement. She suggested I read books and articles about writing (this was in the days before blogs), attend conferences, and practice, practice, practice.
After licking my wounds, I jumped in with both feet. I subscribed to writer’s magazines, checked out numerous books from the library, and found an affordable conference within driving distance of my home. I also enrolled in Jerry Jenkins’s Christian Writers Guild. With Eva Marie Everson as my mentor, I completed a manuscript through the course assignments. Surely now, it was time to become a published author.
Apparently God had other plans. Despite being asked to submit the full manuscript after pitching it at a conference, the work was rejected. Undeterred, I continued to submit the story to publishers. Months passed. Then years. My optimism flagged. I reached crisis mode when I received a scathing rejection from one publisher. The letter was critical, and one paragraph was downright hostile. Devastated, I told my husband that I must have misunderstood my calling as a writer. It was time for me to lay down my pen.
Gently but firmly he told me he disagreed and I should submit the manuscript to the next publisher on my list. He also encouraged me to pray about the situation, to confirm with God whether it was time to quit writing, but I should continue moving forward in faith.
Within ten days of submitting, I heard from eLectio Publishing. They loved the manuscript and wanted to publish it. Was I interested? To misquote Renee Zellweger, they had me at “we love your manuscript.”
When I look back over the journey toward publication, I realize publication occurred in God’s perfect timing. For personal, professional, and spiritual reasons, July 2017 was when Under Fire should have been published.
Are you wondering if God has forgotten your dream? Do you think you missed a memo somewhere and perhaps God didn’t call you as a writer, speaker, or some other vocation you thought He had? Perhaps He’s calling you to wait. Trust in His perfect timing, and watch for His signs along the road.
I love this, Linda! God’s timing is always perfect and I love the analogy you used that you are just too early. I’ve done that a time or two too. Thanks so much for sharing your story.
Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. She is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She serves as a Board Member-At-Large for Sisters in Crime New England, is a volunteer docent for the Wright Museum of WWII, and is a trustee for her local public library.
Set in April 1942, Under Fire tells the story of Ruth Brown whose missing sister Jane is declared dead. Convinced her sister is still alive, Ruth follows clues from their small New Hampshire town to war-torn London trying to find her. Discovering that Jane has been murdered results in a faith crisis for Ruth, and she decides she must find Jane’s killer.
You can find Under Fire here.
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I will see you back next week with author Chandra Smith! And don’t forget about my Camp Hope Launch Party on Tuesday! I am very excited, and we will be giving away awesome goodies. Find more information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/239581676799083/. I hope to see you there!