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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sellout (05/26/11)

TITLE: Surrounded by Grace
By Sandy Ott


She heard the words “brain tumor” and her senses almost immediately shut down. There was a blur of activity all about her as people rushed around in the emergency room. Admitted for testing, she spent three days in the hospital being poked, prodded and scanned.

“It doesn’t seem like seven years have passed,” she reflected. Her mind wondering back to the moment after three long days in the hospital when the neurosurgeon announced, “It’s not a tumor, it’s an Arachnoid cyst.” A wave of relief rushed over her, quickly followed by a state of confusion.

“It is quite large, almost 7 centimeters in diameter behind your left eye,” he continued as he cleared his throat. “I see no need to remove it at this time”, he asserted with a distracted air which alarmed her. “It would be risky and after reviewing old scans of your sinuses; it has been there a long time, most likely since birth. Your brain has accommodated it,” he stated with some certainty. “You don’t appear to have symptoms as result other than an occasional headache.”

For the last seven years she has carried around the knowledge that she has a large bubble of cerebral spinal fluid in her head the size of a softball. She agreed with the doctor, no need to create problems where none seemed to exist. She never even would have known it was there had she not been involved in an accident at work and had a full head CT as a precaution.

On this beautiful spring morning, sun brightly shining as she walked to her car, she noticed even the minutest of details. Tiny flowers blooming by the fence with bees buzzing around them caught her eye. The playfulness of a squirrel as it runs through the uneven blades of grass glistening from the morning dew. New leaves of brilliant green and bright buds bursting with color that adorn the trees as this season of growth and renewal begin anew.

“How things have changed,” she thinks to herself. “Thank you God for showing me the wonder and beauty of your creation. You are mindful of all you have made; I know you care about me too”, she whispered reassuring herself.

The promises she made that first restless night in the hospital resulted in a complete turnaround in her life. She poured out her heart to a God she had previously all but forgotten and He surrounded her with grace. Many challenges have presented themselves in the days since she decided to ask Christ into her life. Some were battles within herself, struggling to walk away from “friends” made her feel like a sellout. It was as if she thought herself better than the party buddies she had spent much time with.

Grappling constantly with the desires of the flesh, the routines she had come accustomed to and the new life she was seeking warred within her. She knew this transformation was not going to be effortless or immediate. It took a couple of months to cultivate the courage to seek out a church where she and her family could be nurtured as part of the family of God. The ongoing arguments with her husband didn’t help. He did not accept this new idea in the beginning. They each thought the great chasms of conflict that scarred their marriage needed to be dealt with first but in truth; they needed to seek God so He could help heal the relationship.

Now, as she drives to see another neurosurgeon, she reflects back on the blessings she has experienced in the last seven years. God helped her see during her moments of pleading with Him that it wasn’t that she was of higher value, God loves us all the same. As some people she severed ties with insulted her “new enlightenment” or labeled her a hypocrite she eventually began to comprehend that not everyone recognizes or responds to God the same way. Nor would everyone accept the changes she was making with God’s help. Her priorities had changed, theirs had not.

Today she needed reminding of all she had learned about who God really is; concentrating on the His love, His power, to know without an inkling of doubt that all things are in His control.

Today she is standing firmly on His promises knowing He alone will provide the strength needed without worry of what tomorrow may bring.

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This article has been read 271 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Phee Paradise 06/02/11
I like the reminder of God's grace and love, but I was a little confused by the changes in time. Your jumps from the past to the present were somewhat abrupt and you changed tenses frequently, even within the same paragraph. But the event is powerful.
Kathleen Langridge06/03/11
Powerful story with lovely images. It seemed as though there might be more than one story. Because of the depth of the story it may have caused confusion with the timing of events. Also reading it aloud might avoid some of the flow problems created by the lack of punctuation. I took from it though a strong message of God's grace.
Leola Ogle 06/04/11
A powerful story of God's mercy and grace. Keep writing, it gets easier and better with time. You definitely have talent. God bless!
Nigel Byng06/06/11
There is a passion that is struggling to express itself in your writing. Its like the writer wants to scream and yell about God's grace yet at the same time the character says am quietly reminiscing. Be patient in your writing. Lovely story though. God bless.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/06/11
This is a great story and gripped me from the beginning I will admit the term arachnoid cyst brought images of a sac filled with spiders that would crawl out her eyeballs. (In truth it's a cyst that may look spider-like around the membrane of the brain) I am very grateful that that didn't happen.

Having been sick now for half of my life I often wonder if I sold out to my illness. Could a better person have handled it differently? And what about my kids did they deserve a less handicapped mom? Some may argue this isn't strong on the topic bit I think you covered it nicely; in truth you managed a couple of subtle definitions of sellout in the story.