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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Reader (04/15/10)

TITLE: Prey for the Words
By Holly Hoell


I love you sooooo much! You are such a blessing to me! You are precious. These are all things my best friend would tell me. She was the leader of womenís ministries at the church I attended. I used to relish receiving her letters; they would make me feel so loved and wanted. I would eat them up and send similar notes back. These letters as well as trips to the nail salon and other fun outings fed my soul. I didn't realize that as this continued, I was becoming spiritually complacent. I was building my foundation on sand. Emotionally, I felt happier than I had ever been.

That summer everything changed. I swallowed two pain killers and lay back in my bed. My broken ankle was throbbing again. It had been a week since my best friend was removed from her ministries. I talked on the phone with two women from our church who were aware of the situation. They explained to me that it was a decision made by the elders. She disregarded something they asked of her and now this was the result.

I grabbed my laptop and crafted the email to my friend. I hesitated as I typed, "I think you should have listened to the elders". I felt like friends are supposed to be able to speak the truth to each other. I felt strongly that she shouldnít disregard the authority at the church even though she disagreed with them. I hit the send button and went to sleep. Hours later, I saw an email with her response.

As I opened the email, I was unprepared for its contents. It was like I was approaching a vicious rabid dog. Each word was scathing and harsh, pointed toward me, as if I was the one that had caused her pain. I was crushed, no apology or anything I tried to say or do would fix what had been said. That was the first of many angry emails I would receive throughout the next year.

What I didnít know was that my identity was wrapped up in that friendship. It was typical for me to be on the phone with her or emailing her several times a day. Since she was head of the womenís ministry, I felt I was learning and growing from her as my mentor. Now, all that had come to a violent end. I was alone. Now, offense was screaming words of hate; demanding recompense.

As time went on, my sadness and loneliness deepened. My angry friend continued to send critical, hurtful emails. Whenever I saw an email with her name on it, fear filled my heart. One night I awoke from a deep sleep. I sat up in bed and saw a vision of a bird of prey grasping a bloody mangled corpse in its talons. I watched as it pecked and ripped at the flesh. I heard "she's picking you apart". These attacks were evil, and I was the prey. Not only was it picking at the flesh, but it was feeding on and enjoying it, using it for nourishment.

I dived into the Word of God. Little by little, I started receiving the truth instead of the lies that had made me feel worthless and abandoned. Now I began feeding my spirit and learning not to walk by my feelings. The Lord put a new wise friend in my life. She showed me how to worship the Lord in my pain. She would often show me scriptures that helped me cope with my emotions. It took several months for me to feel somewhat stable.

Once again, that angry friend tried to start a new attack. I got her to agree to meet me in person between church services. I donned the armor of God and prayed for His help; then faced my Goliath. She scowled as I told her we needed to have a casual friendship for a while. She walked away in a huff. Even her final email, with more angry words was of little consequence. I knew I had emerged victorious in Christ with a freedom that only He can provide.

PSA 119:42 (AMP) Then shall I have an answer for those who taunt and reproach me, for I lean on, rely on, and trust in Your word.

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This article has been read 414 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Barbara Lynn Culler04/23/10
WOW! What a frightening experience. How sad, too, theat you would be so betrayed. It gives even more proof to put our trust in God and not humans,

Great story of over-coming!
Theresa Santy 04/24/10
It is ironic that Christians are usually first in line to become chained in slavery, be it unforgiveness or something else.

My favorite paragraph was the description of your dreams of the bird of prey, picking away--quite vivid. I also loved the sentence, "I was building my foundation on sand."

Only because my Aunt frequently bugs me about this, I want to add: whenever possible, leave out words like: so, and very, which actually reduce the impact of your sentence. For example: If you take (so) out of this: 'would make me feel so loved and wanted.' the words loved, and wanted, become stronger.

This was a strong story, but I felt like there were two messages competing with one another. When you mentioned your comment sent by email, I cringed before you mentioned the aftermath. Far too often, digital communication catapults a sticky situation into a horrifying one. At best, digital communication is difficult--there are no clues of body language or sounds of inflection to pick up on. I believe it's imperative today's generation of children come to understand this. Anyway, I'm not sure if you intended to incorporate this message, but this thought distracted me throughout, since this issue is important to me.

The primary message, going to God, and living in his word, to overcome our fears, guilt, unforgiveness, etc., is a major one, and I can relate, since I'm experiencing the same issue. My used-to-be-friend won't talk to me; and we run into each other often. (Our last conversation was over the telephone, and still, there were huge misunderstandings) It's sad, and hurtful. I have to turn it over to God constantly.

To recap: I enjoyed this piece, could totally relate, and although I would have restructured it a bit, the subject matter was impactful and there were splashes of brilliance throughout.

I appologize for my overwordiness (new word, just made it up), you happened to catch me after a gigantic cup of coffee.

AnneRene' Capp04/28/10
Oh, how very well told, well written and what a powerful testimony to us all!

Your honesty was righteous and I too struggle with offending others, who don't see our honesty as a heart full of love for them to address issues that need addressing, for their good.

Your title is awesome and you don't belong in beginners! Just being honest :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/29/10
What a sad, but beautiful story.Congratulations in placing in the top 15 of your level. Good job.
Gregory Kane05/11/10
Easily my favourite entry in Beginners. And what wonderful insight into the world of religious hypocrisy and control.