A Tale of Three Fridays
by Darlene Franklin
Five weeks, Passion Week, and life-altering illness separated two Fridays for me this year. Both red letter days affirmed life and faith.
First Friday: In mid-March, I faced a difficult decision about my writing career. Almost three years before, I had left the corporate world to write full time. God blessed the decision abundantly. In the first year alone, I doubled the number of books I had written over eighteen years’ time.
But early in 2012, no editors had responded to my proposals for months. Not only that, but my health was suffering. A bad fall in 2011 led to increasing immobility, and I remained housebound for months after surgery in September. Days passed without me writing anything at all. Perhaps God had ended my writing career for good and had something new for me to do.
So I asked God about it. Do you want me to continue writing?
Did I ever receive an answer! He thundered His reply three times over.
His first answer came quietly, in a short note from the woman who edited A Bride’s Rogue in Roma Texas. Copy editors are the first neutral readers of my books, and I always wait for their reactions. This time, she called it “a very lovely story.”
The second email belonged in my warm fuzzies file. A fan wrote to say how she just loved my books. She even quoted my own words back to me.
Readers want more books from me.
The third and final news arrived with a horn blast. After five months of silence about any of my proposals, my agent informed me that close to ten editors wanted to see a complete manuscript. Ten publishers. Visions of a bidding war danced in my head, at least as soon as I could finish writing the book.
Editors want books from me.
I had my answer: God wanted me to continue writing. He had answered me with a neon-letter in the sky kind of day.
I didn’t know how soon I would need that absolute assurance. On Friday my right arm began to hurt, and, by Saturday evening, it hurt so badly that I screamed for the entire hour and a half it took me to get to bed.
On Sunday morning, I swung my legs over the side of my bed but couldn’t sit up. Repeated efforts did no good. I stayed that way, with my legs dangling over the side, getting weaker and weaker as twenty-four hours passed.
A friend came to pick me up for a doctor’s appointment on Monday afternoon. Instead, she rushed me to the hospital. The doctors discovered I had a high fever due to Staph infection. I had been sick for some time without realizing it, getting weaker and more dehydrated by the day. Although the hospital never did find a reason for my arm pain, it felt like someone drew a knife down my arm every time someone touched it.
My hospital stay lasted seventeen days, antibiotics flowing through an IV the whole time. After discharge, I had to take over the treatment, three times a day. I remained too weak to get out of bed.
God’s promise that He had more books for me to write lightened the days when I wondered if I would ever get better.
Second Friday: Five weeks of bed rest and physical therapy later, I achieved a milestone. When my therapist came, I not only sat on the edge of my bed without support but I even stood. As the weeks passed, I began to take a few steps. My agent also contacted me regarding a sale. My novella Angel in Disguise will appear in Texas Brides (May 2013 release from Barbour publishing). I rejoiced in the evidence of not yet fulfilled promises.
Third Friday. I’m calling today the third Friday. More than six months have passed since that day in April. My health has continued to decline; I spent another week in the hospital in July due to bowel obstruction and from there entered a nursing home. My general health is fair, but severe arthritis limits my mobility to a wheelchair and I am unable to perform a lot of personal tasks. I don’t know when, or if, I can return to independent living. That part of my vision for the future has changed, perhaps permanently.
But God has still called me to write. I scrambled to finish two books that were due to the editor on August 1 (Angel in Disguise, which I already mentioned, as well as Calico Brides¸ which will be published in June 2013.) After that, my writing calendar stretched pitifully empty. Where were the contracts that God had promised?
In fact, I despaired about my writing, in spite of God’s promises. Several doors had closed. God wants me to write, but what?
Harlequin bought out the Heartsong book club, which had published the majority of my books. I sent them a three-book proposal; and they contracted with me for the Maple Notch Dreams series. Along with the two books coming out from Barbour in 2013, that made five books heading for publication in 2013.
As if that wasn’t enough, a nonfiction editor at Barbour contacted me about writing a complete devotional book for them. With the contract for It Is Well With My Soul, the number of my books scheduled for publication in 2013 climbed to six—the most ever in a single year for me.
Life in the nursing home has turned into a blessing in disguise—but that is a story for another day.
God certainly fulfilled His promise. Thanksgiving this year arrives with an abundance of blessing.
Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin lives in Oklahoma near her son’s family. She has published twenty titles including her two latest releases, A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas, and Merry Christmas, With Love, in Postmark: Christmas. She has also written two books in the Texas Trails series with RiverNorth Fiction, Lone Star Trail and A Ranger’s Trail. She’s a member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers.