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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hear (07/08/10)

TITLE: Ordinary Living
By Marie Fink
07/14/10


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Week after week Amy flung herself out of bed and into the shower, dressed with little care, and added a touch of makeup. Standing one Sunday morning in front of the foggy bathroom mirror she thought, ‘Maybe I should add a little color on my lips to mask the ambivalence I feel.’

Speeding now to make up for lost time from the morning, she whips crookedly into a parking space and a friend notices immediately. Giggling, the friend says, “That’s too much car for you to handle there, eh?” Amy shrugs and smirks and shuffles off into the stark building. She has just enough time to greet a couple of people, slip into the powder room to check her color, find a seat and plop into it.

Amy considers her familiar surroundings and her mind sighs, ‘It’s always the same, nearly anywhere I’ve lived: modest building, plain décor, an instrument or two.’ She thinks about it more beyond the aesthetics now, ‘Cordial enough people, true friends who would do anything for me, lots of opportunity to help others, and good teaching.’ ‘What could be better?’ her mind chastises her.

Obediently going through the motions she sits, stands, sings, listens, confesses, responds, and prays. Her mind wonders at times, ‘Do others have this lack of emotion too?’ ‘What’s wrong with me?’ she would agonize. Amy’s inner voice would speak, ‘Why do I even show up?’

Groaning inwardly she thought, ‘Oh, I’ve heard this so many times before.’ Silently almost mocking, ‘Yes, we are heirs with Christ. Yes, we need to persevere. Yes, we need to hear the word of God over and over again.’ ‘Wait a minute,’ her mind perked. Amy sat up a little straighter and leaned a bit forward. She thought, ‘Did I just hear him say that it’s in the perseverance that we build our character and that in turn produces hope?’ Amy knew she had heard and read that many times before, but there was new light dawning in her.

As the pastor expounded Amy listened more intently. She heard him lovingly and truthfully say, “It is through the everyday mundane struggles we are to persevere; perform our tasks, anything from changing the eighth diaper to tending to the never ending pile of laundry, to the daily grind at work, day in and day out, and all of this to the glory of God.”

‘To the glory of God,’ Amy kept repeating in her mind.

The pastor went on: “Even in a home where young ones are being raised in the church their salvation and discipleship can come through the plain ordinary means of hearing the Word preached week in and week out, month after month, and year after year.”

‘Such purpose, such important work!’ Amy was shouting voicelessly.

Her mind began to race as she thought of things she had read and even studied before, ‘The fact that every pursuit in life from good and honorable to bad and horrible are all nothing and vanity apart from Christ.’ ‘Ah yes’, she understood, ‘All to the glory of God.’

Amy was thrilled to hear that it’s often through ordinary day to day living with its highs and lows, the slogging along, slow and steady, hearing the Word of God, even the same Word of God over and over, responding to it, and allowing it to penetrate that would make a difference in everything she would do.

As she left the bright and beautiful building she felt lighter and more purposeful. She knew that she had just been in some sort of malaise common to everyone occasionally, but she also knew that if she could remind herself to do all that she does to the glory of God it would be very helpful. Amy said a prayer to that effect and pulled out of the parking lot ready to take on the weak ahead with new vitality and hope.


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This article has been read 290 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brenda Shipman 07/15/10
I love how you never even mention the word "church", and that you used her perception of the church in the beginning (stark, modest, plain decor...) and at the end (bright and beautiful) as props to describe the MC's funk and enlightenment. Excellent technique! The MC seemed real to me - nice characterization. I could relate to her malaise! But then to counter it with what she heard from the pulpit - ah, such great truth! This is very well done ~ to the glory of God!
Verna Mull 07/15/10
This was a fantastic insight that often stumps people, and very well done. I only pondered "weak" ahead, and wondered if it should be "week." The more I pondered that, I came up with so many thoughts that I wondered if that was your purpose to spell it that way! We are all "weak" vessels of Christ.
AnneRene' Capp 07/15/10
You spoke for all of us and you spoke it well! I too, was impressed how you never mentioned church. This is encouraging for everyone as I believe everyone has felt this exact same way at one time or another. You drove it home with the importance of doing "it all" for the Glory of God! Amen and thank you for such a gentle reminder.
Shellie Bailey07/16/10
Thank you for sharing, this was just what I needed to be reminded of.
Ruth Brown 07/17/10
It was a really good story. We could feel along with your character.Blessings, Ruth
Angela M. Baker-Bridge07/20/10
A very different approach to the topic and way of delivering a universal truth. Great job.
Philip Barrington07/20/10
Thank you for this encouragement. May God bless you