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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Phew! (02/11/10)

TITLE: Where is the Shepherd?
By Holly Hoell


The morning began like any other. I attended a couple of classes at Hudson Junior High School. I ended up in this school several months ago. My parents had retired that year and moved from PA to FL. I painfully realized like Dorothy, I wasn't in Kansas anymore. It seemed like no one in my school liked me. Instead, Fear was my constant companion. Each day, I was forced to be in this school, surrounded with teenagers that all wanted a piece of the new kid. To me, I might as well have been in prison. I went from class to class trying to shelter myself from uncaring people who would call me names and threaten to beat me up.

It was time for band class. I sat down and put my clarinet together. The girl next to me asked if I had a hair brush. “Sure” I said as I pulled one out of my bag and handed it to her. She ran it through her hair once; then suddenly slammed it down across my knee. She laughed as she handed it back to me. I tried not to show the pain on my face as I put the brush back in my bag. Is this her idea of thanking me? I thought to myself.

I was tormented constantly by thoughts of why no one liked me. I didn't understand the ways of God at that time. I would ask Him why don't You help me? Can't You smite them like You did for David in the Old Testament? I wanted them all to pay for how mean they were.

Finally, it was time to go home for the day. I got on the school bus, happy that soon I would be home, safe and sound. Nervously I scanned the seats trying to find a friendly face or an empty seat. I walked about 10 rows back and saw an empty spot. It was further back than I would have liked, but beggars can't be choosers. I sat down silently, trying not to make eye contact with anyone.

One by one people got off the bus, now it was my turn. As we pulled up to my stop, I grabbed my book bag and stood up. One of the other kids yelled "Sit back down!" in a harsh, commanding voice. I froze in terror, what should I do? Luckily the bus driver said; "Isn't this your stop?" I hurriedly walked off the bus to safety. I shuddered to think what would have happened if that driver had remained silent. Where would I have ended up?

As I reflect on these things, I also think about another time where I could have been in grave danger. I was walking to the bus stop, when a man in a big truck stopped and asked me if I wanted a ride to school. Because of my fear of the other kids, I would have gladly avoided the bus. I told him "sure" and started to walk around the truck to get in the passenger seat. Instead, something told me; "What are you doing?" I told the man sorry I'd better ride the bus and kept on walking.

I had felt unloved and unprotected during those years. I realize now that the Lord my shepherd was with me and was watching over me the entire time. These trying situations are painful and beyond our understanding. This is a fallen world. Only by the grace of our precious Savior do we go; always knowing that He is our protector and never forsakes us. "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is for me among those who help me." (PSA 118:6-7 NKJV). Because of Him, I was not harmed; He helped me in my time of need.

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This article has been read 369 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Mull 02/18/10
This is an article that many need to read. Bullying has become a major issue. I guess that I would have stuck with the one subject, however, as I felt the "ride with a stranger" quite far removed from what you had first written. That would make an article of its own. Nevertheless, it was a very interesting and challenging story.
AnneRene' Capp02/19/10
Your story did a good job of reminding me of all the times while growing up, God was ALWAYS there with me too! I am looking forward to leaving the ugliness of this world behind also.
Marie Fink02/19/10
Interesting first hand account of how mean junior highers can be. And thinking better of taking the ride was certainly God's Providence. I'm wondering if that piece of the story could have been saved for another, and the junior high account could have been ended with the one kind word or deed someone may have spoken or done during those years. Perhaps there were none, sadly.
Mark Bell02/22/10
nicely written. very poingant, too. I agree with the comment that perhaps it might have been better to split this. however, both portions work with the topic. well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/22/10
I felt said for the MC the whole time I read this. I hope I have raised my kids to stick up for the underdog. I wanted to give you a big hug and tell you that you were loved, even if you didn't feel so. Good job in bringing out such powerful emotions in me.
Lisha Hunnicutt02/22/10
I really felt for the MC in this piece. I wish someone had come to her rescue.
stanley Bednarz02/23/10
I consider myself a tough guy, and I started to cry. Perhaps, because I know what a couple of my teenagers have gone through in the past. You did a good job to convey honest strong emotions. Keep using it in your stories, and it will all come together.

It reminded me of Romans Chapter 8
"Nothing can separate us from the love of God..."