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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)

TITLE: Chloe's child
By Karen Ward


Chloe entered the wood paneled room and quietly placed her belongings on the floor beneath a chair. The opulence of the residence was something that others had told her of in admiration and wonder, but it only served to make the experience more intimidating for her. She was uncomfortable in the presence of such wealth.

“OK Lord, this is scary, but here I am. A quiet retreat. Hope there’s enough to do and I don’t get bored. What is a Spiritual Director anyway? Guess I’ll find out.”

She debated sitting in her chair to wait, but instead opted to visit the bathroom in order to hide her nervousness.

“Seriously Lord, look who else is here! Do you really think you can keep those two quiet for a whole day? If you do, then you are a God of miracles that’s for sure! Oops. Sorry Lord. It’s true, but they are sweet souls even if they never shut up!”

After the Spiritual Director eased them into the day with some prayers and focusing exercises, they were sent into the extensive gardens to find a spot to meditate on a story and begin some creative drawing exercises.

“Hmm lets see, read the verses and then draw. You know it’s not my forte Lord, but I guess if I’m the only one who has to look at it, I can try.”

Chloe spent the next hour sitting in the sun, talking to her God and doing her best to complete the drawing exercise. She had time to spare, and continued to pray in the sun.

“OK Lord, I’m done. I’m pretty happy with my drawing, and I have a new appreciation of those verses. I want to know your true character Lord, not just the image that I have of you.”

She took the thought further.

“It scares me that you might not be who I think you are. Were you with me before I knew you? I’m convinced that you were. But how does that fit in with Uncle Bill Lord? I know we keep coming back to that, and you know I’ve worked through it a lot, but where were you then? Why did you let him betray our trust?”

Her mind wandered over the memories of her innocence being stolen from her. She had spent a lot of time wrestling with God about his role in her abuse. She had some peace with those memories. But suddenly a thought surfaced that had been locked in a corner of her memory for a long time.

It surprised her.

The thought became a vision of a little boy about 7 years old, on the other side of a river, playing on the bank. She watched as he played and then ran into the arms of…someone – God?

“LORD! Was that from you?”

Chloe sat up straight and looked to the mountains as if awaiting an answer.

“Oh Father, was it a boy? Do you really have him in your arms? Or am I just making this up? No, I can’t be. That vision was too real. You are here now too aren’t you Lord? I can feel you. You are my comforter, my sovereign King.”

She smiled to herself, wary of her own hopes deluding her, but unable to deny the warmth growing inside her that testified that this was real.

“Oh Lord, tell him I love him! Tell him I was too young to have a say in his life. Tell him if I had my way I would never have let him go, even if he was Uncle Bill’s son.”

“Ask him to forgive them Lord. They didn’t understand. You know I would have kept him if I could. Love him for me Lord, take care of my son. Oh my little one. I’m so sorry I never knew you. So sorry I could never hold you in my arms and sing you songs.”

Her heart broke as she wept and recalled the child she had been forced to abort. He was only 8 weeks old when he was taken from her womb, but she knew now that he had been a boy. That he was waiting for her in Heaven. The overwhelming certainty and joy left her in no doubt that God had spoken to her. Her wounded heart soared as she felt the healing presence of her Lord.

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This article has been read 1059 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debra Brand08/08/05
Oh! How poignant! Very good.
Shirley Thomas08/08/05
Very touching story!
Theresa Kissinger08/09/05
You have successfully taken a stark ugly truth and presented it in a warm inviting setting. The contrasting of the war within and the surrounding warmth bring a good balance.
Phyllis Inniss08/10/05
How touching your story is. Chloe's innocence was taken away from her but overtime she learnt forgiveness as she learnt to rely on God for answere.
Shari Armstrong 08/10/05
A very bittersweet story - something nobody should have to deal with, but unfortunately they do. Your story shows that there can be healing.
Shannon Redmon08/10/05
At the pregnancy center where I used to volunteer in NC, many women believed God had given them visions of their children, telling them their gender and names. Your story brings to light the beauty of God's love for us.
Lynda Lee Schab 08/11/05
Touching story, nicely written. Well done.
Blessings, Lynda
dub W08/11/05
Well done - touching.
Jan Ackerson 08/11/05
Very good writing; far better than Beginner status. Thanks for sharing.
Sheila Arnott08/11/05
May God bless you for a story that touches on a very difficult, but real problem in today's society. It reflects your desire, and ours, to make sense of something that is tragic.
Linda Watson Owen08/11/05
You put us in Chloe's mind and heart. Very effective writing!
Julianne Jones08/11/05
I had tears in my eyes by the time I got to the end. Beautifully written. I feel this piece could bring healing to many. Thank you for your insight and for sharing.
Suzanne R08/12/05
I had goosebumps. Well written. And ditto to all the above.
Beth Muehlhausen08/13/05
Agreeing with other comments - very nicely done. Interesting that you encapsuled a very "real" mental/emotional/spiritual retreat within the context of a contrived and maybe more stiff artists' retreat.
Helga Doermer08/15/05
This is a sweet redemptive piece. Helga
Randy Shaffer08/15/05
WOW! Congratulations, you have shown that God is the only physician who can heal this type of wound. Thanks.
Shari Brian08/16/05
Congrataulations, Karen. Thank you for sharing this story. I climbed into Chloe's world immediately! Well done!
Marie Gabbard08/16/05
Karen, How beautifuly done. My heart just broke for Chloe. Praise God, all those little children are in God's arms now.
Debbie OConnor08/26/05
Karen, congratulations on your win. I was a judge for retreat and wanted to let you know how much I liked it. This was the note I made on my tally sheet, "Excellent story about a woman making peace with God and her past on a retreat. Haunting image of "seeing" her aborted child playing with Jesus. A very real feeling story. Poignant!" Great work!