Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Home Group (11/29/07)
TITLE: A Heart for Jesus
By jodie banner
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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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