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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Inner Person (09/09/10)

TITLE: Perfect Love Casteth out Fear
By Holly Hoell


“Stay in your seats please, the ministry team will be approaching to pray a blessing over you.” It wasn’t a unreasonable thing… but I didn’t sign up for this. After all, it was my first time as part of the ministry team and I was clueless.

Slowly, members of the team began to approach and pray for people. Some laid a prayer shawl over the person they were ministering to. I chose a lady and knelt before her placing my hands on hers; I spoke of God’s love for her. The prayer was short and I don’t know what she thought but I felt like an idiot. I got up, went to the back, and stayed there until the praying was over.

A leader came up front again and asked everyone to line up. Two men held up a Chuppah in the front of the room. Each person was supposed to walk under it as we prayed for him or her. It was to symbolize new beginnings as the bride of Christ.

I stood near the Chuppah with my hands raised in the air; thanking the Lord for all he was doing. The leader said “Holly, go get someone and walk them through.” Oh great, just when I think I have suffered enough fear, here we go again. I approached a lady named Diane and began to slowly walk with her toward the Chuppah, trying to pray blessings over her.

After we got through, I saw Dorothy, an experienced member of the team. She took Diane off my hands and began praying for her. What a relief! I went back to the place I had been standing, glad that it was over. The leader looked at me and said “Holly, go get another one and walk them through.”

Was there no limit to the torture I was to endure today? I started walking with another lady named Becky. I kept praying what seemed like the same inadequate words. She began crying as we got under the Chuppah. Dorothy was there and I could see her eyes were teary and bloodshot. She glanced at me, then spoke some words to Becky. As we continued through, I figured Dorothy would take her off my hands.

Instead, she told me “minister to her.” A swearword flashed in my panic-stricken mind. I put my hand on Becky’s’ shoulder and stood there for a second collecting myself. Not knowing what else to do, I started repeating some of the words I had been speaking to her about how God loves her and that she is a treasure to Him.

As I continued praying, new things started to come to me. I wanted to stop; to be done with this and go to the back of the room where it was safe. Instead, I could see that the words were affecting her and she began to cry even more.

I pressed in and continued to speak whatever came to me regarding her. I even began crying. I knew she was in the choir, but that was the last thing on my mind as I heard myself speak “when you sing and worship before the Lord it makes Him happy.” Now I was really getting emotional and I continued praying until finally everything that had come to me was poured out. Silent now, I looked at her, expecting to see a disappointed look.

She spoke to me, tears pouring down her face and said, “I always knew that God loved other people, but now I really know he loves me too. When you were praying, thoughts were coming into my head like He doesn’t really love me and other thoughts too. But for every thought I had, your prayer countered each one.”

I was blown away. I said “that’s never happened to me before!” She hugged me, thanked me, and told me to continue to let God use me.

I went to the back of the room a bit shaken and I continued crying for about a half hour after. I could feel a pain that I can only describe as sadness in my heart. I told one of the leaders about it and her response was that I was feeling the Lord’s compassion for Becky. I finally realize what it means to be a vessel, to be led by the Holy Spirit, pouring out his love on my precious sister in Christ.

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This article has been read 406 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/16/10
This is a beautiful story and I commend you on being brave enough to follow the Lord's nudging by going to the meeting and then once again when you wrote this story.
Sarah Heywood09/17/10
What a neat experience! I can so identify with the fear you wrote of. I would not be comfortable at all doing that kind of thing, either. But sometimes when God takes us out of our comfort zones we find the greatest blessings.

You wrote this very well!
Christina Banks 09/20/10
It's always scary ministering in a new way. It is easy to forget why we are ministering and think of ourselves and our own discomfort. I liked the development of your character. Well Done!
Allison Egley 09/20/10
Oh, I love this! I could feel her hesitancy and her feelings of inadequacy.

Personally, I think the second to last paragraph packed more of a "punch" than the final paragraph, and I think you could have easily ended it there. The point was well made already.

Great job with this one, and a great reminder that God can use us, despite how we feel.
Holly Hoell09/20/10
I bet many can identify with some aspect of this piece. It was engaging and I love reading about people finding freedom. Very encouraging and relevant.
Holly Hoell09/20/10
oops LOL was trying to comment on someone else's article
Barbara Lynn Culler09/20/10
Beautiful story. So hard to let go of our fears and let God work through us!

Noticed your MC has same name as you do! Be careful-these challenges are supposed to be anonymous till judging can be completed.
DK Landers09/20/10
Your story is poignant and I admire your authentic voice. By giving transparency to your character's thoughts and feelings about her new role as prayer warrior, you have made her real to the reader. These are feelings we all have when God uses us in a new way. Thank you for the excellent way you portrayed how God works us through our doubts in ourselves.
Catrina Bradley 09/20/10
Thank you for sharing this wonderful story! The ending may have been a little abrupt (my opinion) but your writing flowed well. I was moved to tears. Very nice!
Rachel Phelps09/20/10
This experience was wonderfully portrayed. I felt like you found your voice a couple paragraphs in - this whole entry is solid, but I feel it could be even stronger if the beginning was revisited.

Well done.
Cheryl Harrison09/20/10
This is a touching portrayal. You did a great job developing your main character. Keep writing!
Kristi Peifer09/20/10
I enjoyed sharing the MC's thought processes. What a feeling to know that the Lord has used you!
Loren T. Lowery09/21/10
A compelling story told with great emotional impact. The way you were to bring out the real emotions of the MC speaks volumes of not only your heart but your talent as a writer, too. You connect to your readers very, very well.
Brenda Rice 09/21/10
Okay, I believe I've found you. I really related to your MC. As a younger Christian I too was very uncomfortable in ministry situations. But also like you, I learned to allow the Holy Spirit to do the work and all went well. I think this piece is very well written. I enjoyed it from start to finish. Good job.
Kate Oliver Webb 09/21/10
A very moving and well-written story of finding your way through new and scary ministry situations. I've always been grateful for those aware leaders who direct newbies into ministries with a sure hand and the leading of the Lord. Great descriptions here!
Lillian Rhoades 09/21/10
Warm and touching story. A few grammar and form issues.
I would also encourage more action verbs rather than passive verbs. This helps to
show rather than tell.
God really rewards us when we
share His love with others.

Kristin Slavik09/21/10
Good storytelling and showing of emotion!