When I began writing my first novel The Gospel According to Sasha Renee, I really only had one idea in mind. I wanted to embed a unique salvation story into what was commonly called Chick-Lit in the late 90s, early 2000’s. However, after the book was released in 2004, I realized there was so much more to the concept. That’s when it became a series. It went from one woman’s coming-of-age story to the story of three generations of women in one family and how each generation impacted and influenced the next. As I was writing the second book, Interruption: The Gospel According to Crystal Justine, I started to look at and deal with my own spiritual legacies. Things like fear and low self-worth that were unknowingly passed down to me. I also had to figure out how I was going to break the cycle—the generational curse—much n the same ways my character CJ had to expose and then dismantle the “stuff” passed down to her by her mother, Sasha and her grandmother, Vivian.
Some generational curses are obvious. Any layman’s sociological study of certain groups will uncover multiple generations of young women on welfare, men in jail, divorce, children out of wedlock, unemployment, sexual abuse, obesity, etc. But I sometimes think these things are the fruit of even more devastating generational legacies.
One of my biggest lessons in writing this series, the third of which will be released next year, was this: Our stories began long before we were born. There’s something powerful in that. It’s incredible significant to know that your story began not with your conception but with the lives that led up to it. And it’s not always bad legacies that are passed down. There’s such a thing as generational blessings. I’ve seen families where all the men are incredibly devoted to the families, where it wouldn’t even cross their minds to leave or not provide. There are families that have a thread of resiliency and strength and confidence in the women that is unconsciously passed down to the girls.
The truth is…we don’t really have a say in the story that we’re borninto. That’s a rather fixed thing determined by God for His specific reason and purpose. But how wonderful is it to serve a God that also allows the story we are born into to be transformed. It can be easy…maybe even safe…to live my life as though the story that I was born into defines me. And to keep repeating that story to myself and others as though I have no responsibility in changing it. For me, the beauty of being a writer is, I am acutely aware of my ability to rewrite a narrative; to change the players/characters and rework the plot. And so it goes with my life.
I certainly believe that it’s important to honor the spiritual, emotional, and psychological legacies left to us…when they are affirming. But when they aren’t…it’s time to start rewriting. That may mean going back to school, starting a business, conquering a fear, or hey, writing a book. Whatever it looks likes for you, take action. In fact, as believers the rewriting of our story began 2,000+ years ago at the Cross. In a transcendent kind of way, Christ rewrote any story that we could have ever been born into. He changed the trajectory of your path to destiny. Don’t let your choices interfere with that.