Tamera Alexander is the author of A Lasting Impression, and also of Rekindled and The Inheritance, and is currently working on her tenth novel. Her fall 2012 release, To Whisper Her Name, showcases the history of the Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, the most successful thoroughbred stud farm in American history.
One of the most difficult struggles in my life is also––through God’s grace––one of my greatest victories. But as we know, every victor bears the scars of struggle. Sometimes those scars are visible, sometimes they’re hidden, but they’re still there. I was sexually molested when I was a young girl. The incidents occurred over a two-year period. The perpetrator was not someone in my family. It was a family “friend.” As I matured, I grew to realize that none of what happened was my “fault.” But at the time, and for years following, I felt as though I’d done something wrong. I felt dirty. And somehow…less.
That feeling took root inside me and manifested itself in the form of deep insecurity and self-doubt. Even stuttering. When I was around the age of 13, someone I respected read a poem I’d written and told me, “You’ll be making an a** of yourself if you ever let anyone read what you’ve written.” Due to lingering childhood issues, I took that statement to heart and put away writing for many, many years.
In my teen years and through college, God filled my life with people who helped me work through my past issues and hurts. He healed me of so much of that pain. And through a turn of events later in life, he drew me back to the love of writing. With writing comes risk. Risk that can feed insecurity and self-doubt. Funny little twist, huh? But God never calls us to do something we could accomplish on our own. He calls us to God-sized tasks so we’ll learn to rely on his strength and not ours. And his strength––like his grace and healing––is immeasurable!
What is your favorite bible verse and why?
I love Jeremiah 29:11-13, a much-quoted promise and one that’s very familiar to us…
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
Sounds great, huh? God has a plan for you and me. Plans for good, not for harm. Plans to give us a future and a hope. God will listen to our prayers. If we look for Him wholeheartedly, we’ll find him. This is all great stuff! But…
Are you familiar with verse 10 of that same chapter, and verse 14? The two verses that [bracket] the promise we love to quote? They’re not as frequently quoted, but they should be. Note verse 10 and 14 in bold below:
“This is what the Lord says, “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you, says the Lord. I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your land.”
Captivity. God is promising captivity.
So yes, while verses 11-13 offer comfort and hope, don’t forget that God first promised his “chosen people” seventy years of struggle and hardship, circumstances they would never have chosen for themselves. Sound familiar?
These verses demonstrate to me that I should never judge God by my circumstances. They also remind me that sometimes, enduring a hurt or a painful circumstance is the best way for me to grow closer to God. And isn’t that the ultimate goal of my earthly journey, and God’s will for me here…to grow closer to him. To become more like Christ.
|A Lasting Impression|
Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio? Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print?
Yes, A Lasting Impression is available in audio and large print and ebook, as are all my other novels.
What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
As I write, I take steps closer to Christ. And it’s my deepest hope that readers––as they read my stories––will take steps closer to him too.
As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
I particularly enjoyed writing A Lasting Impression because Claire Laurent and Adelicia Acklen (the “real” woman who built the Belmont Mansion) were both strong women with internal struggles. Struggles they hid well, and that only a handful of people around them knew about. Struggles (and weaknesses) that God used to make them stronger.
In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
I’ve received numerous letters from readers who have struggled with insecurity and self-doubt due to past hurts, and who found encouragement and hope as they read A Lasting Impression. A Lasting Impression is about authenticity. It’s about being real first with yourself, then with others. And ultimately with God.
All of my stories grow from either a personal struggle or a question I’m wrestling with in my own life. For instance, as I was writing my book, Within My Heart, I’d just lost my precious mom to gallbladder cancer, so much of my “working through grief of loss” is in that story, as well as many of my last moments with Mom.
Anything else you’d like to share, Tamera?
Thanks so much for the chance to share how God has poured grace and healing into my life. I’ll be sure to visit back often during this week, so if anyone has any questions––or maybe if they want to share their stories in the hope of encouraging others––I’ll be visiting and reading!
Thank you, Tamera, for sharing part of your journey with us. Have a blessed day and keep on writing!
Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded and nominated for numerous honors, including the Christy Award, the RITA Award, and the Carol Award. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband have returned to their native South and live in Nashville, Tennessee, where they enjoy spending time with their two grown children, and a ten-pound silky terrier named Jack.
LINKS for purchases of all Tamera's books (click here.)
October 2012 (November 2012 release but book starts shipping October 10th)To Whisper Her Name, a Belle Meade Plantation novel by Zondervan. (OTT: We got our copies from Amazon, yay!!!)
GIVEAWAYS: Tamera is also doing a giveaway for us this week in addition to our giveaways of a book of choice plus one Tamera Alexander paperback that we are giving away ourselves--grand total of THREE giveaways this week.
QUESTION: Have you lost a parent to cancer? How did you cope?