What person in their right mind would get up at this time of day? Morning is for sleeping, night is for socializing on the computer.
Ashley moaned, rolled over, and reached for her ringing cell phone to shut off the alarm
7 A.M. Why do they force me to attend? I am sixteen, old enough to make my own decisions.
“Ashley, rise and shine” her mother’s madding cheerful voice floated down the hallway.
To be so cheerful this early in the morning should be consider a crime.
Do they take pleasure in torturing me? Forcing me to participate in something I don’t believe in.
“Ashley Rose, it is 7:30. You want to attended church in your pajamas?”
Church, ugh, the place where everyone is false
But that cute new guy, Ryan, might be there. He seemed interested in me.
Ashley threw off her blanket, springing into action. She tamed her wavy strawberry blond hair; then applied the acceptable amount of make-up.
Jezebel messed up my chances of wearing more make-up.
Ashley met her mother in their dilapidated car.
My parents say God is our Provider. But let’s look at the facts. What has God provided for this family? Nothing! Mom shops at Aldi’s and the thrift store, in a car that should be put out of its misery.
Youth service night sang through Ashley’s brain as she completed her chores with haste. Tonight church would not be boring. Tonight meant F-U-N.
“Mom lets go already,” Ashley said, her voice oozing exasperation.
Tonight went as planned. Ashley immersed herself in the great feelings that come from laughing with her friends, and flirting with Ryan. She could not imagine anyone or a God making her feel any better than this.
Before closing prayer, the youth minister made an announcement, “In six months we will attend ‘Battle Cry’. For those of you not there last year it is a twenty-seven hour event with live bands, dramas, and teachings. We will leave on Friday, come home on Sunday.”
Ashley gazed at Ryan who gave her an alluring wink. She giggled at the wild images that raced through her mind.
Six months later
One duffel bag? How can one measly sack hold all my stuff?
Ashley shuffled around her room, picking up objects here and there for her weekend getaway. She pulled out of hiding the outfit she had bought for Saturday.
After six months of dating this should peak Ryan’s interest.
She folded the denim mini skirt, babydoll top, lace bra and panties adding them to the duffel.
If we can sneak away, I might allow him to explore.
Ashley dashed out to the waiting church van.
What changed my parents’ minds about me not attending, again?
Ashley jumped straight into Ryan’s waiting arms. Turning, she gave a faint wave to her mom before leaving.
Stepping inside the enormous building Ashley clung to Ryan. Teenagers filled the coliseum to the bursting point. Giving her hand a squeeze, Ryan brushed her lips with a quick kiss as they settled into their seats. The chords of a worship song burst out from the stage.
Wow! No dry, dusty hymns.
A drama placing Jesus in modern times followed the worship. Ashley sat spellbound.
I never saw Jesus portray like this. Could what the Bible says, and my parents believe, be true?
After the performance a popular band on the Christian music charts stepped out on the stage. Everyone is dancing, jumping, clapping, screaming, and praising God. I can feel the hand of God all over this place. Could this be what my parents know?
Saturday started off early with a drama about the trouble of the opposite sex. Ashley listened to a powerful spokeswoman explain how to not push the passion button. Shifting uncomfortably in her chair Ashley felt exposed until Ryan slipped his jacket over her shoulders.
Throughout the day great teaching and worship chipped away the junk from Ashley’s mind, heart, and soul. When the finale came she felt like an eye liner pencil. The junk trimmed away, sharpened. Only one thing remained to be done, apply it.
Ashley’s arms lifted naturally as tears streamed down her face. She gave God her all in worship. You’re the God my parents serve.
Yes Ashley. Come, know me for yourself.
She turned towards Ryan wanting to share her new discovery, but he had joined the crowd walking toward the front to accept God as their Savior. Stepping out in faith, Ashley joined them.
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