A Guest Post by Julie Arduini
My writing features characters struggling with an issue they need to surrender, and in Entangled, Carla Rowling can’t let go of the past. She keeps carrying the shame she felt back in high school when she became pregnant, and her first love, Wayne Peterson, abandoned her. Her son is now a teenager and Wayne’s back in town asking for another chance. She’s afraid Noah will repeat her and Wayne’s mistakes and that Wayne’s charming ways will distract her from her loyal and caring boyfriend, Will Marshall.
If that’s not enough for Carla to deal with, she’s been given the funds to leave her job and start cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she doesn’t feel worthy. The more she focuses on what she did wrong, the more she creates chaos for everyone around her.
I’ve met a lot of Carlas, and my heart breaks for them. They have God’s forgiveness, but they refuse to forgive themselves. They are in such a cycle of self-sabotage they can’t even see the blessings around them. Carla has a great relationship with Noah, and Will Marshall treats them both well. Carla has a great opportunity pursuing her dream of becoming a stylist, but she’s scared of failing. Her fears drive her to isolate herself from Will, push Noah so hard he rebels, and compete so hard with the other cosmetology students that she risks alienating them. Most women need a rock bottom experience before they surrender the shame and realize God’s love and forgiveness was for them all along. I won’t give the story away, but Carla definitely has to confront her past and her choices.
That’s why I love the first part of Song of Solomon 1:5. Although many commentaries talk about how “I am dark, but beautiful” is a literal statement about her skin color, I had a friend challenge me to consider if she meant her past. The young woman in that verse had been abused. Her story wasn’t a happy one. Yet she was challenging the others to see her inside, because everything about her was beautiful. Just like us, if we’d only allow ourselves to receive that truth.
Entangled was very difficult to write and I thought about quitting many times. Now I understand why. As readers contact me privately and share how God showed them while reading that they had an issue from their past that needed surrendering, they started healing. That’s why I write. I long to see women live free, and I believe contemporary romances are the perfect vehicle to let that unfold.
How about you? Is there something from your past that you are holding onto that is robbing you from a wonderful now? Do you see yourself as “dark,” or lovely?
Because you are beautiful, no matter what your past says.
I am offering a copy of Entangled — winner’s choice of paperback or Kindle copy — to one US commenter. Here’s the description:
Entangled: Surrendering the Past
Book #2, Surrendering Time Series by Julie Arduini
“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”
Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives.
Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.
Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?
Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and — maybe one day — the chocolate. She’s the author of ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shares her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities.