Friday, December 23, 2011

By God’s Clock— Not Mine by Anne Mateer

The writing journey can be filled with ups and downs—small successes, followed by failures and discouragement. We dig in, we hope, we pray … and we strive to trust that God knows what he’s doing. Be encouraged, dear friends, by author Anne Mateer’s personal journey to publication. ~ Dawn

By God’s Clock— 
Not Mine
by Anne Mateer

Early in my girlhood, I dreamed of becoming an author. Then I fell in love. Got married. Had three babies. 

My babies grew. The last one traipsed off to kindergarten, leaving days free to write. A year later, I finished my first ever novel. The next year the Lord let me to a writers group. Year three took me to a national writers conference. I submitted the beginning of my novel— and got a request for the full manuscript from an agent!

This is it, I thought. But nothing happened.

I went to soccer games and class parties, basketball games and field trips. I wrote another novel. And another. I entered the Genesis contest— and reached the finals. 

This is it, I thought. 

I didn’t place. And though I sent it to a few agents, nothing happened.

I reevaluated my writing, my genre, drove endless rounds of school and music lessons, practices and games. I turned forty, battled with my oldest. I survived her driving a car, the boys reaching their teens. I enjoyed a bit of freedom.

Another novel flew from my fingertips. This one was good. I knew it was good. It reached the Genesis final round. An editor at the conference asked for the full manuscript.

This is it, I thought. It’s my time. But nothing happened. 

Nothing but rejection and tears and wondering if I’d wasted time and energy and money on something I was never meant to do. 

Start again, I heard. And He gave me the strength to obey.  

I wrote in the midst of the excitement and sorrow of my daughter’s senior year. Again, a Genesis entry. Again, a spot in the finals.

This is nothing, I thought. Nothing but a word of encouragement. We celebrated graduation, put my in-laws back on the plane home. And one of the judges requested my manuscript. 

This is exciting, I thought, but still no guarantee. We left our daughter at college. I incorporated revisions suggested by the editor. Resubmitted.

This is a great way to learn, I thought. My own private writing class. But it’s not a promise. Not a contract. 

At least it wasn’t until that editor called as we arrived at my daughter’s dorm room to bring her home for the summer. 

Looking back I see that all the times I thought This is it! would have resulted in disaster. I wasn’t ready— as a writer, as a person. Neither was my family. But I couldn’t see any of that at the time. Instead, the wait was frustrating. Sometimes it seemed pointless and unfair. But now I see purpose in the delay. I see how much I’ve grown in faith, in learning to trust God with the desires of my heart. How that has spilled over into my marriage, my parenting, my friendships. How much richer my life is for the waiting.

I’m so glad God measured the time by his clock instead of mine. 

Armed with a history degree and a vivid imagination, Anne Mateer combines a love of history with a love of story. After years of honing the craft of fiction, she finally realized her dream of publication with Wings of a Dream. Her second work of historical fiction, At Every Turn, will hit bookstores in September of 2012. Anne and her history-loving husband live in Dallas and are the parents of three young adults.

To find out more about Anne and her books, please visit:


  1. Anne, Thanks for sharing your journey, complete with the emotions you felt along the way. I, too, have experienced this, only to find that my timing wasn't God's. So happy to see you as a published author now. As I've told you before, I knew it the first time I read your work in that group at Mount Hermon.
    Merry Christmas.

  2. I love your constant encouragement, Richard! So excited to see us both in print--both in God's timing! :)

  3. Anne... having traveled a very similar road, I look back now and realize I had much more to learn than writing in order to weather this industry the way the Lord wanted me to. Not that He said, "No." It's just that it took me many long years to come to terms with His way of doing things. Sort of like a parent that says, "When you can behave yourself, you may come out of your room."

    Which was mercy, really, or I would have run off and self-destructed in such a beguiling world. So, the tables turned as I saw it was God who was having endless patience with me, and not the other way around. Sometimes, I still struggle with those things. But I never run off, anymore. Heavens, the very thought is abhorrent to me, now. I suppose only He knew I would eventually come to this place. And I am so grateful He waited for me.

    Thank you for sharing your story, and making me feel not so alone!

  4. "Which was mercy, really." So true, Lilly. It sometimes feels like God isn't listening or isn't moving or has abandoned us altogether when really He is so patient with us as we fight His shaping and molding of us for His perfect use. Glad my story made you feel less alone! Your comment makes me feel that way, too. Thank you!

  5. Amen to God's timing, Anne! My story is much the same. The Lord knew I wasn't ready so I just kept writing for 40 years:) So thankful it happened on His clock instead of mine. Thanks for a great post!

  6. Thanks, Laura! It's still so good to hear other people's similar stories. Especially from an author like you that writes such amazing stories! :)


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