Healing through writing
Barbara Thomas has always had a passion for God and helping women in her community. The two collided with the publication of her first book, Transmogrify: More than a chrysalis.
The novel follows a woman who is transformed through such challenges as death, domestic violence and illness.
Ms Thomas explained: “Death, passion, lies and deceit follow Elaine on her journey to transformation. Despite the forces of male privilege, domestic violence, and physical illness, aided by the power of sisterhood, she rises out of her struggles a champion.
“This book represents and celebrates the lives of our mothers, sisters and sister-friends who, refusing to remain in their cocoons, endured the test of change and emerged as beautiful butterflies. Transmogrify provides hope to women whose voices remain muted in our society. Elaine's story is your story and her victory is your victory.”
The first-time author, who started writing after the death of her mother, hopes the story will encourage women in particular to believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Her dream is to have them understand that they “have more strength than they think”.
“I never dreamt of becoming a writer until after tragedy struck. The loss of my mother left me filled with unexplainable grief and pain. Unable to communicate my grief, I picked up a journal and wrote down my feelings. Next, I released my deepest thoughts by writing a letter to my mother. Through this exercise I found an avenue to release my deepest emotions.
“This was followed by a poem about losing the one who was the centre of my heart — my mother. From that point I kept journaling.”
The process allowed her to heal. “There is a point in the development of a story when the author comes face to face with themselves,” she said. “This self-encounter can trigger unresolved memories from their past. For me it was the residual pain of the loss of my mother.
“At times, I felt overwhelmed in the process, especially when I received my first draft of the transcript back from my editor. But I understood that the book had a purpose and must be produced in excellence. There are women that need the encouragement and I could not disappoint them.”
Ms Thomas attends Radnor Road Christian Fellowship.
Her own journey of faith has not been without trials; she believes they helped build the strong relationship that she has with Christ today and gave her ability to walk within her purpose.
“Having been through, sickness, death, rejection, and so many life challenges, I realised that I needed something to help me get through the rough and lonely times,” she said. “Although I had a handful of close friends, they were not always available when I needed them.
“Developing a close relationship with God allowed me to know that I was not alone in this fight and together, we would fight for my life and a good future. My relationship with God led me to have good godly friendships with those who loved God and understood the value of telling you the truth about yourself and helped me to see and realise that I had purpose in life.”
Ms Thomas is also the chapter co-ordinator for A Lott of Sista Love, a Christian-centred, international non-profit organisation with a mission to empower women to reach their full potential, to make their dreams a reality and celebrate life with one another.
“I have always had a passion for helping people, especially women, as this is my ministry, and seeing them reach their potential. Through my personal life's journey, I was inspired by the encouragement I received from my community of sisterhood. I realised that there are many women in our community who could benefit from such support.
“I wrote this book to inspire and give hope to these women, letting them know that they don't have to live in bondage, without hope, love and encouragement, trapped in an unhealthy relationship or controlled by negative thoughts which have been implanted in their minds by others. I wanted to let them know that they can be free, free to discover their God-given purpose in life.”
• Transmogrify: More than a chrysalis is available at Brown & Co and can also be ordered directly from its author, Barbara Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org