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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Beach (07/04/05)

TITLE: The Awakening
By Tammy Johnson


It all started in Solomon Yoder’s boat. The day was hot and we were restless. Fishing was a waste of time and our “running around” time, or rumspringa had begun. We had yet to leave our Amish community and taste the outside world.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. How often do three Amish boys show up at an Englisher’s beach? Of course people would be curious. Observing unnoticed had been a foolish notion. Meeting her was inevitable.

“Are you young men enjoying your rumspringa?” The angel before us brought warmth with her smile. Her gentle nature challenged our concept of Englisher girls. Gentle laughter tickled our ears as we sat with mouths open and void of speech.

“My name is Jill. I know Anna Esau. Her family sells baskets outside my Dad’s shop. I’m sorry if I offended you. I figured you were her age and starting your “running around” time, too.”

Thus began one of the most important relationships of my life. Her Dad’s ice-cream and talks of Jesus quickly filled my rumspringa time. Love and respect for God and those around her exuded from Jill and it gave her intense beauty. I was on the brink of falling in love when IT happened.

Her hands clenched the beach sand, “Jakob, I still don’t understand how you can believe in salvation as a gift of grace yet have to live a good life to get it. How is it prideful to accept a gift God is offering? Isn’t it prideful not to?” Jill’s eyes were moist with conviction and compassion.

Words were spinning so fast in my mind that minutes passed before I realized I hadn’t spoken any of them. Hadn’t I been asking myself that same question for days? Was it possible to avoid pride in assurance because the salvation was all from God? Unless, of course, being sure made me prideful in the assurance I possessed.

Tears born of conflict and emotion filled my eyes as I continued to gaze at Jill in silence.

“Jakob, no one could ever accuse you of being prideful. Accept his gift of assurance and be confident in his desire to use you for the good of others.”

That’s when it happened, the awakening. Never had my path been so clear.

With aching heart I took Jill’s hands. My rumspringa had begun with her here at the beach, and now it was ending with her here at the beach.

“I do accept his gift of assurance. Today he has made my future so clear.” I caught the shine of hope in her eyes knowing she wanted that future to include her. I almost faltered.

“I respect my family. I cherish my Amish heritage. I know this love is placed here by God. I must bring this truth to the ones I love.”

“Jill, I have never been tempted to leave my plain life until now. If I knew God chose you for me, I would give in to the temptation, but I know he has not.”

Trembling fingers stilled any more words on my lips.

“I trust you, Jakob. I know you hear God’s voice. I want you to know that you will always be treasured in my heart and I will always be your friend.”

The ache of loss mixed with the excitement of discovery churned inside me as I returned to my Amish home. God was good. God was faithful, and his purposes would be accomplished.

Birds twittered and horses clopped as the summer breeze cooled. An old man and his aged bride sat cuddled on their squeaky swing. A smile on their lips and peace in their heart spoke of years of sharing.

The sound of an engine alerted the couple as it intruded into the soft sounds of nature. A familiar blue Buick parked in front of the porch and an Englisher emerged, aged with a few more wrinkles but love and respect exuding from her.

Jakob smiled as he and Esther welcomed Jill. The trio talked into the night sharing memories and tidbits of life.

Yes, God had been good. God had been faithful, and his purposes had been accomplished.

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This article has been read 1095 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Elisabeth Seiter07/11/05
Really enjoyed the dialogue and story
dub W07/12/05
This is an extremely well written article, by someone close to the Amish. Written at a very high level, way beyond a beginner. Good use of dialogue to move the story.
Nina Phillips07/12/05
Thank you so much for sharing this awesome article. I enjoyed reading about our reliance on the Holy Ghost in ALL things.
God bless, littlelight
Amy Michelle Wiley 07/12/05
Well told story. I enjoyed it much and was pleased that Jakob returned to teach the Good News.
Christine Sparrow07/13/05
Read it twice, found the message and I'm glad I did. Thank you for sharing this meaningful story.
Pat Guy 07/14/05
I agree with dub - you need to move up! I loved this piece!
Shari Armstrong 07/14/05
What a great story! Having driven through Amish country many many times going to my Grandparents, I really enjoyed this. My Mom's old roommate actually married a man who went "English" for her. It took until they had children for his family to even speak to him again. It's a tough choice they make.
Suzanne R07/14/05
Beautiful. Great title too.
Crista Darr07/15/05
Extremely well written and enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing the message of grace in your story.
Beth Muehlhausen07/15/05
This one is a gripper! Lots of feeling. I enjoyed confronting with these two young people - confronting God's plan for their lives as well as each other. This line was pivotal: "That’s when it happened, the awakening."
Randy Shaffer07/20/05
One of the toughest things in life is to "bring this truth to the ones I love." It is all part of the narrow path. Nicely written article. God has blessed you with a great gift. Thank for your comments on my poem.