“You are a writer; so write!”
was the first time the Lord spoke to me about writing…I have preached numerous sermons over many years of ministry, but now as a fiction writer, I can see how my stories can put flesh on those outlines and create living illustrations that walk, talk, and breathe.”
Books have always been an important part of my life. From the time I realized black letters stamped on white pages of a novel had the power to transport me from the stark world of reality into the fascinating realm of mystery, romance, and intrigue, I was hooked. Growing up in the northwestern part of Oklahoma in a cramped, four-room house with no indoor plumbing presented a bleak existence compared to the spacious plantation mansions of Gone With the Wind. During my early days, while others were outside playing, you would most likely find me curled up in our tiny bedroom, trekking through the forest with enchanting animals of the Mother West Wind Tales, investigating baffling clues with Nancy Drew, or exploring dangerous mysteries with the Hardy Boys.
In 1962 I married my college sweetheart, Charles Mendenhall—or Charlie, as he liked to be called—but time to read was challenged when three children: Quentin, Brad, and Kim, came into the picture. Amid changing smelly diapers, bandaging cuts and scrapes, washing, ironing, cleaning, and cooking, books got shoved back on the shelf while days and years became a series of living out the narrative of real existence—so fiction fell by the wayside.
In 1977, when we pioneered Victory Center Church in Guymon, my genre of reading changed. Books I read then were no longer fiction, but volumes written by men and women of God who penned down revelations from the Bible. Because of ministry demands, once again there was no time for frivolous reading, and honestly, by then I thought it would be a waste of time to read books that someone had just made up.
That all changed one day when my son-in-law handed me a new book entitled Left Behind. When I recognized it as fiction, I declared emphatically, “I don’t want to spend my time reading something that is obviously an imaginary tale.”
However, I finally read the first page because I was curious about end times, and immediately, I was hooked once again. I went from the Left Behind series to Christian romance novels, Christian mystery novels, and any genre of Christian fiction I could get my hands on. From that moment on, I knew I had re-discovered one of the strong loves of my life. I was a hopeless romantic with a hardy streak of imagination running through my veins. You guessed it, now I have book shelves lined with hundreds of thoroughly read Christian novels.
Because of my love for reading, from the time I was a teenager I had a dream to someday be an author. When I turned sixty-five years old, I realized grains of sand in my hourglass were fast running out, and I had not fulfilled that dream. So, I wrote my first book, The Secret to Healthy Relationships. After reading excerpts of that book, my husband suggested, “the way you like to use stories and description, you should be writing fiction.”
That idea took root and I studied fiction writing until I felt confident I could do it. When I wrote my first novel, Fall like Lightning from Heaven, a biblical fiction story, I knew I had tapped into my destiny. I had uncovered a love buried deep inside that brought satisfaction like I had never experienced before.
The first time the Lord spoke to me about writing, he said, “You are a writer; so write!” When I asked the Lord where fiction writing fit into his plan for me, he let me know reading and writing fiction was not a waste of time. He reminded me that a sermon demonstrated in the pages of a novel impacted more people than a sermon preached. I have preached numerous sermons over many years of ministry, but now as a fiction writer, I could see how my stories could put flesh on those outlines and create living illustrations that walk, talk, and breathe.
When writing Dawn of the Silver Moon, Blood Moon Rising, and Freedom’s Moon, I have been determined to create, through the pages of each book, poignant examples of faith in action, and purposed that my readers will come away with a strong message that God can and will do the impossible, if we can only believe his word.
Ephesians 2:10 (AMP)
For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
Pastors Charles and Margaret Mendenhall are the lead pastors at Victory Center Church in Guymon, Oklahoma.
Victory Center houses ministries to jails and prisons, has an enthusiastic children’s and youth ministry through Kid’s Klub and One Eighty Youth that meet on Wednesday nights, plus a vibrant children’s church for all ages on Sunday mornings. Victory Center’s services are streamed live via Facebook, and from our website, www.victorycenter.org.
Our Office —
122 NW 5th St
Guymon, OK 73942