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TITLE: Breaking Through
By Carla Feagans

I am writing this for a Christian newspaper, mostly women readers - it's a weekly paper with 800 word articles. The topic for this is Freedom of Speech with God.

My deadline is only a couple of days away, so if you could respond by 12/13/05, that would be great, but feedback after that is also very appreciated.

I don't really like my title, but wasn't sure what to call it. I also considered Having it Out with God or Wrestling with God or something like that, but I'm not thrilled with those either.

Please let me know if this illustrates freedom of speech with God to you, and also any feedback on beginning, ending (not to mention middle), readability, flow, believability, etc., etc., would be much appreciated.
Linda slammed on her brakes as the car in front of her braked without warning. She barely swerved out of the way just in time. Why canít people just drive, I really donít need this today, Linda thought. The sheets of rain pounding her windshield mirrored the pounding in her head.

I need to pray about this, Linda heard inside her head. No, she shook her head, tears rolling down her already wet cheeks. Iíve prayed enough, Godís just not going to answer me on this one. I donít know what else I could even say, God knows that my heart is broken, and He doesnít seem to care.

Iíll call Jill, sheíll know how to make me feel better, Linda thought. She quickly dialed Jillís number, her fingers knowing the keys so well she didnít even need to glance away from the road.

RingÖ. Please God, let her answer, I need her today.

RingÖ Really, please, she has to be there.

RingÖ.Jill, pick upÖ youíre always there when I need you.

As the voicemail message played in her ear, Lindaís heart sank. A sob swelled in her throat, but she swallowed it back down. No, Iím not going to lose it again, Iíll just call someone else, she thought. But who? Thereseís sweet face floated into her mind. Of course, her prayer partner this month. Linda didnít know Therese that well but she knew she was a prayer warrior if there ever was one.

Iíll just have to take a chance at being vulnerable with her, I need her prayers today, Linda thought. She dialed Thereseís number with shaking fingers. Lord, Therese can pray for me, please let her pick up, she thought as she heard the first ring.

When Thereseís voicemail message began, Linda felt desperation crowding in on her again. No, thatís not fair, God! she thought. Immediately she felt bad, she knew she shouldnít think bad things. God is good, she reminded herself. But heís not good to me, a small voice answered.

Linda groped for her address book on the passenger seat, trying to think of someone else she could call. She even broke down and tried her momís number. No one was home. The rain hammering her windshield made it hard for her to distinguish between the rain and her tears. She pulled over to the side of the road and crumpled over the steering wheel. Loud, noisy sobs wracked her body. A deep, guttural moan escaped from her lips.

Suddenly, Linda was gripped with anger. ďFine, God, have it your way,Ē she said out loud. Oh great, now Iím reduced to being a crazy person who talks to herself, she thought. ďItís bad enough you wonít answer me, the least you could do was give me someone to talk to when I need them most.Ē Instead of her usual guilt when her thoughts turned to anger with God, this time she felt her rage consuming her.

ďWhere are you?Ē she yelled. ďWhy donít you answer me? I pray and pray and you just ignore me. Donít you care any more? Donít I matter to you? How could you have let this happen? How could you do this to me? Please, please, Lord, donít turn your back on me now. I need you, I canít do this, I canít go on.Ē

Linda buried her face in her hands, her body rocking back and forth involuntarily. ďGod!Ē she screamed, the sound muffled by her palms. She lifted her head to breathe. ďDonít do this. Donít let my life unravel like this. Help me!! Now, Lord, today, not tonight, not tomorrow, now. This minute. IÖ canítÖ goÖ on,Ē she ground out through clenched teeth. Her desperation felt frenzied and out of control.

She wasnít sure how long she sat there on the side of the road, waves of grief and tears surging from her body. Finally spent, she dropped her head on the back of the seat and closed her eyes. Her eyes were puffy and swollen, her breaths ragged and her head so full and clogged she felt as if she might suffocate. As she listened to the sounds of her own breathing, and briefly wondered if she had any tissues in her purse, she realized her insides were no longer churning. Her heart felt calm, peaceful, for the first time in as long as she could remember since all of this started. Nothing had changed, nothing was better or different, but finally, Linda felt peace.
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