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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Home Group (11/29/07)

TITLE: A Heart for Jesus
By jodie banner


Maria stood on the sidewalk a few feet down from the house. She pulled her red woolen coat tighter around herself. The button holes had frayed and the elbows had worn so that the black lining was just barely peaking through the remaining red strands. Still, she was thankful for the protection it supplied from the icy wind blowing in from the ocean. She quietly chided herself for not wearing her hat and scarf but they were striped in purple and green and the scarf was so worn you could see through it in spots. Up ahead she could see the black gate leading to Mrs. Williams house. Through the fence she could make out a warm glow coming from the window in the foyer. The voice in her head was telling her to leave. Just walk the twelve blocks back to the bus stop and go back to where she belonged. The yearning in her heart was stronger and pushed her forward a few steps. Her mind replayed the events that had led her to this moment.

Earlier in the year her children had come home from vacation bible school at her local church with stories of Jesus. She had heard the stories as a child, though she couldn't pinpoint the place or time, but her sons spoke of him as if they knew him and he was real. They even told her that Jesus had died to save them, from what she wasn't sure but she felt a deep need to be saved from her empty life as well. She could see the convictions of their statements written in their faces and longed to feel something, anything that strongly again. She knew she could learn more at the local church services but Sundays were an impossibility for her.The money she earned working weekends at the dry cleaners was essential to her and her sons survival.

When Mrs. Williams had walked into the dry cleaners on Saturday she greeted her as she did all of the regular customers. She knew Mrs. Williams well and they engaged in small talk as they did every Saturday. Mrs. Williams had even invited her to church on a few occasions. Maria had noticed her bible in her bag and for some reason she asked her if she was reading the book. She had felt ridiculous the moment the words left her mouth but Mrs. Williams merely answered her that yes she was reading the book. She also hosted a bible study on Monday nights and then asked Maria if she was interested in joining them. Maria felt a lump in her throat, and she could feel every heartbeat as it pounded in her chest. She could not explain this strange reaction to a simple invitation. Lately, she seemed to have an emptiness in her life that was even larger and darker than the one left when her husband had died five years earlier. She knew it was related to her children's stories from vacation bible school and she had hoped to learn more but Maria knew she could never go. Mrs. Williams was only being nice and she didn't really want to socialize with someone like herself. Also, Monday nights were her only nights off and she had many other things that needed done. Then Maria heard herself accept the invitation and ask for directions. After Mrs. Williams left she looked down at the paper in her hands and realized that she had been invited to one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in town. She would have to change buses three times to even get close. Her heart seemed to be leading her somewhere unknown but as essential to life as its own beating.

Maria startled when she realized that she had slowly made her way through the wrought iron gate and was facing a large door with stained glass windows. She knew her answers were in her grandmother's bible she clutched under her faded red coat and desperately wanted someone to help her find them. The warmth radiating from the door seemed to be calling her inside but she didn't belong in this neighborhood with these people. She needed to leave before someone noticed her. Suddenly the door opened and Mrs. Williams ushered her inside and Maria realized she had reached out and rung the doorbell.

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This article has been read 686 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sara O Rodriguez12/06/07
nicely done! great story line. keep it up!
Linda Germain 12/06/07
I wouldn't mind a teensy bit of dialogue sprinkled in, but all in all, I really like this entry~
Julie Ruspoli12/06/07
Great article. It flowed well and really showed great emotion. I could feel Maria's feelings, especially the yearning for Christ in her heart. Great job at showing her different memories. I look forward to reading more of your work. Good Job!
Brenda Welc12/08/07
I could feel the emotions in this story, well done.
Sharlyn Guthrie12/12/07
Your story kept my attention and flowed well. Bible should always be capitalized, and I noticed a few small punctuation errors, but all in all, this is a very strong, touching piece. Keep up the good work!
LaNaye Perkins12/13/07
You did a gret job of expressing your MC's emotions. The story held my interest and blessed my heart. Keep up the great work!
Joanne Sher 12/14/07
Great job on placing ninth in your level, Jodie!