Today I’d like to welcome author Christa Allan as the special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress.
Christa is on her first blog tour through Pump Up Your Book promoting her debut novel, “Walking on Broken Glass.”
Here’s a brief summary of her book:
"Leah Thornton’s life, like her Southern Living home, has great curb appeal. But a paralyzing encounter with a can of frozen apple juice in the supermarket shatters the façade, forcing her to admit that all is not as it appears. When her best friend gets in Leah’s face about her refusal to deal with her life, Leah is forced to make an agonizing decision. Can she sacrifice what she wants to get what she needs? Joy, sadness, and pain converge, testing Leah’s commitment to her marriage, her motherhood, and her faith."
To find out more about the book, you can read the first chapter here.
Christa’s post today is in the form of a letter written from her to Leah entitled, “Soul Survivor.”
After living with you for over a year, I’ve experienced palpable separation anxiety since February 1 when you broke out on your own. Considering what you experienced because of me, perhaps that comes as a relief to you.
I hope this letter is your passport to real freedom.
A few chapters in, I almost changed your name. I’d chosen it because it was lyrical and soft without being prissy. Then, one morning reading my Bible, I came across the story of the manipulation of your father, Laban, in giving you to Jacob after he worked seven years to marry your sister. So, instead of the rivetingly beautiful in face and form Rachel, he found himself husband to her “dull-eyed” sister, Leah. And though Jacob accepted Leah as his wife, he worked another seven years for Laban to reward him with Rachel.
I ached for Leah, for the seven years she spent birthing sons for a man whose sweat and labor daily brought her younger sister one day closer to his bed. And after Rachel became his wife, the contest between the two sisters played itself out in pregnancies. Leah gave Jacob six sons and a daughter, and never felt as if she had acquired his affections. Rachel died giving birth to her second son, and never felt as if she’d earned his affections. The sisters never understood that fertility or barrenness did not earn Jacob’s love.
I didn’t want you to be this Leah. This woman who seemed weak and insecure and cast off. But, I reasoned, I’m writing fiction. I can develop Leah into a character with resilience and confidence and charisma. And so I wrote.
The irony I discovered along the way both surprised and horrified me. You drank and pretended to be the Leah I wanted because you saw yourself as the Leah I didn’t want. The gauntlet was thrown, and the challenge was mine to accept or refuse. Could I turn you inside out to reveal what you had drowned with years of drinking? Could I love you enough to risk your hating me for the wounds you’d experience that would heal themselves in your wholeness?
Maybe this doesn’t help now, but I want you to know you never suffered alone. I shadowed you with each step of hope that led to leaps of faith. I can hear God say to you, “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight. . .” (Matthew 12:18 NIV). The journey is yours now.
Thank you Christa, for stopping by today. This is an interesting letter and gives us a look at the development of Leah.
A true Southern woman who knows that any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and who never wears white after Labor Day, Christa weaves serious stories with threads of hope, humor, and heart. She contributes to Writer…Interrupted and Afictionado, the e-zine of American Christian Fiction Writers.
Her essays have been published in Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Divorced Soul. Christa is the mother of five adult children, a grandmother of three, and a teacher of high school English. She and her husband Ken live in Abita Springs, Louisiana, where they and their three cats enjoy their time between dodging hurricanes. For more on Christa, visit her website at www.christaallan.com.