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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Home Group (11/29/07)

TITLE: Lamentations or Lamaze?
By Garnet Miller
~2nd Place


Elizabeth sat in front of the mirror applying her makeup. She caught a glimpse of her husband standing in the doorway.

“Jim, did you set out the appetizers for me?”

He raised an eyebrow. “This isn’t a party you know.”

“I know that. I just want things to be perfect for our first meeting.”

“How many people are coming to this, uh meeting?”

“I invited five women. It’s a bible study for empty-nesters. If the women like it, Pastor Williams might ask you to hold one for the men.”

Her husband sighed. They both paused when the door chimes began to play. “I’m going to go answer that.”

Elizabeth cradled her bible in her lap and closed her eyes. “Lord, please bless this meeting tonight. Let Your Spirit reveal what You want for this group of women. Amen.”

Jim re-entered the room. “Who did you say these women were again?”

Now it was Elizabeth’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “They are empty-nesters like us.”

“They look more like fledglings to me,” he murmured.

“What?” The familiar chime sounded again. “Jim, I can’t get prepared if you stay in here. Go answer the door.”

She shook her head and flipped through her notes. Taking a deep breath, Elizabeth gathered her things and went out to see her guests. She met Jim in the hallway.

“I think there’s something you ought to know—”

“Jim, you really are being a poor host tonight. Is everyone seated?”

“Yes, but—”

She kissed his cheek. “Thanks dear. I can take it from here.”

He stayed long enough to hear her bubbly laugh catch in her throat. Then he tiptoed away.

There, on the living room sofa, sat five middle-aged women from her church. On the floor, sat five very pregnant teenage girls she had never seen before.


One girl raised her hand. Elizabeth motioned for her to speak. “I was told that this class started at seven o’clock. I’ve got to get home by eight-thirty or my mom will freak.”

“And exactly what class are you here for?” Elizabeth sat down before her legs gave out.

“Duh, we are here for the Lamaze class.”

She eyed her church members, but they sat like statues—their mortified looks frozen on their face.

“I think you have the wrong house. This is a bible study meeting for women whose kids have left the nest…so to speak.”

The girl that spoke started to get up. Her ample belly caused her to fall into one of the women on the couch. “You all are church folk? Let’s go girls.”

“Wait a minute.”

One of the statues began to speak. “What are you running here, Elizabeth? Clearly they don’t care about God.”

“Why is that, Miss Church Lady? For your information, I do care about God. I just don’t think He cares much about me.” The girls walked toward the door.

“God does care about you. Maybe that’s why you’re here.” Elizabeth turned back to the church women. “I think the girls should stay.”

“They are pregnant. Odds are they are not married. You know what the Bible says about that. We may be old, but I don’t think the Bible has changed.” The outspoken woman crossed her arms.

Elizabeth’s smile returned. “The study tonight was to be about God’s mercy. Evidently, God thought that we needed a demonstration to go along with the lesson. The bible hasn’t changed. But, we are not so old that we can’t extend the mercy that Jeremiah talked about in the book of Lamentations.

“We’ve all wanted someone to look beyond our mistakes and see us for who we really are. We also know what it’s like to be a scared first-time mom. These girls need Lamaze coaches and it would seem that we need to go over that study on mercy. Can we all give it a try?”

Elizabeth scanned the room, waiting for a reply from either group. The teenagers were the first to respond.

“No one’s ever asked us to stay. They figure we must be a bunch of messed up girls to be pregnant and they look the other way. It’s like you said—we’ve all made mistakes. I think I want to hear more about God’s mercy. Maybe it’ll get my mom to stop crying when she thinks about the baby.”

The church women moved to their knees on the floor.

“Jim! We’re going to need some pillows.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Yvonne Blake 12/07/07
I love the line of the husband, "Who is coming?" You may want to quote the verse in Lamentations. Also, don't forget to capitalize the word Bible, it's God's Word.
Well done.
Laury Hubrich 12/07/07
Surprise! How funny. This was a very original piece for home groups.
Dee Yoder 12/07/07
I like the line about God thinking they needed a demonstration of grace. I'm glad they rose to the occasion! Good characters.
Kate Grey12/11/07
I love hearing Elizabeth's prayer in the beginning and seeing the unexpected answer. :) One little thing: in "messed-up girls" you need a hyphen (because 'messed' modifies 'up' and not 'girls'). I liked the part where one of the young girls says that no one has asked them to stay before, and I love that you have younger and experienced ladies end up meeting together.
Temple Miller12/12/07
Sweet story. I liked the realistic details - the pregnant girl tried to get up but her belly made her fall back. Good job!
Sara Harricharan 12/13/07
Heehee, love the mix up here. I'm glad that the girls did stay and that Elizabeth was able to show God's love.
Beth LaBuff 12/13/07
Congrats on this creative entry!!
Kristen Hester12/13/07
This is really cute. I loved it. I could picture them all...the pregnanty teens, the older empty-nesters and Elizabeth. Bravo and congrats!
Dee Yoder 12/13/07
Sheri Gordon12/13/07
Congratulations on your EC. The last line is a classic. Good job with the topic.
Julie Ruspoli12/15/07
Go Elizabeth! What an amazing story and lesson. Keep writing for Him!
Venice Kichura12/15/07
Very well crafted! Congrats on a well-deserved win!
Laury Hubrich 12/16/07
CONGRATULATIONS! Well-deserved win!
Chong Shipei12/18/07
I like the story a lot. I think the last line is cool, I like the way the 5 older women were described to be statues, but how later, they were moved to be repentant prayer warriors.

Mercy is indeed not a textbook lesson, but a life experience. :) God bless you.
Karen Deikun01/03/08

Where ever did you get the idea for this? Great story! I loved the idea of Lamaze (as in giving birth to) for this lesson on mercy. You are a very creative thinker.