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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Encouragement (02/23/12)

TITLE: The Big Picture
By Catherine Maher


Wide-eyed and teeth showing, I reach out my hand in record speed to respond to Joe's friendly greeting. Tiptoeing in place like an antsy child, I dart off to camouflage my excitement by slipping into a pew of singing strangers. Following the church announcement, I head over to the signup table to meet Joanne, who will be hosting a weekly Bible study in my neighborhood.

My face lights up with a pleasing smile. It'll be nice meeting more people in my new church. Several leaders are organizing a bus trip downtown for a conference. Iím interested in going, but not by myself. I want it to be fun with some of my new friends.

Why donít you ask your friend, Joe, that you met last month?

Shrugging both shoulders, I scan the room looking for who would make a suggestion like that, but no oneís talking to me. My heart speeds up. Excuse me, Lord, is that You? I don't ask men out, not even if I'm lonely.

I've always been able to recognize the quickening of the Lordís voice. Could my discernment be off? This sounds crazy. Is this the Lord or just my own heart beating fast with anticipation? Could God be nudging me to step out? I didnít want to be rejected or an miss opportunity to change my life. My eyes close. I calm my thoughts and listen.

Just be still and wait on the Lord. He doesn't deceive or misguide people. I need a way to determine, is this all just me? I'm not going to worry. Tuesday at Joanne's I'll ask if anyoneís planning to go. If Joe comes along, great. If not, Iíll know it's not God. If this is Him leading me, Joeís plans will coincide. God knows how much I would like a close relationship again.

According to plan, at the end of the meeting I ask my burning question. All heads shake negative in unisonĖall but one. True to the heroic character of my own imagination, one rises to my rescue dressed in full armor. The room fades to black. His lips part and out pours a heavenly light that surrounds the two of us. His hand reaches toward me. I've been waiting a long time for you. I rub my eyes, accept his hand, and am instantly lifted to his white steed. We ride off together to discoverÖ .

"Ahem, Iíll go with you. I don't like the idea of you going by yourself, but letís not take the bus. If the meeting runs late or we get tired, we can leave."

Like a deep sea diver rising to the surface, my mouth gapes open for air. My cheeks catch fire. I clear my throat and clench my jaws, but my tightly pursed lips leak out my secret anyway.

"Oh, that sounds so nice, Joe."

My eyebrows crunch together. Oh no! What have I done? I am not in the habit of letting a man drive me around. How can this be God? I want to trust Him, but I need to be sure about a decision like this. I can't just get in a man's carÖ can I?

"I do have a favor to ask," Joe interrupted my silent deliberations. "I'm a truck driver, so would you drive? Iíll pay for gas."

I sigh. My shoulders relax and a pleasing smile returns to my cooled-off face. Encouragement washes over me as I realize God's hand in this evening.

On the day of the conference, I drive. Many enjoyable Sunday brunches follow. New hope pulsates through my veins. Words flow between us as God's plan becomes apparent. His perfect timing helps us trust the process. We're God's portrait. He adds the colors, blends the hues and smudges the lines so that we can display the joy of a new beginning. A few more brush strokes readies us for the big picture.

God places the lonely in families. Psalms 68:1 KJV

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This article has been read 537 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Donna Wilcher03/02/12
Beautifully written...You did a wonderful job of showing instead of telling.

Great job!
Joanne Sher 03/04/12
Oh, this is such a beautiful piece - I love your imagery and descriptions!
Nancy Bucca03/04/12
Oh the word pictures you paint as part of this budding romance! Loved it.
Eliza Evans 03/07/12
Very well done. Flows nicely.

A little red ink. In my opinion, you wouldn't describe yourself as, "My face lights up with a pleasing smile." You can't see your face or your smile. :)

I like the gentle tone of this piece.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/07/12
I enjoyed this, not only did you receive encouragement from God and Joe but also from yourself. That's a great message to remember to encourage ourselves and not get discouraged or give up too easily.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/08/12
Congratulations for ranking 12th in level one! Happy Dance! You did a great job. This week level one was quite competitive with several ranking in the top 20 overall! Keep writing and don't get discouraged. You done good!:)
PamFord Davis 03/09/12
Thanks for taking us into the thoughts of a teachable woman, perceiving her desire to remain in God's will and sensing her joy as he answers her prayers!
Jan Ackerson 04/29/12
Catherine, I'm going to feature this story on the Front Page showcase for the week of May 28. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page--and congratulations!
Helen Curtis05/29/12
I loved reading this. I especially liked your MCs runaway thoughts with the white horse, which were suddenly interrupted. Isn't that just like us girls to do that, (brought back many memories!). This is really easy to read and very uplifting. I would very much like to read more of this story; your MCs background, Joe's background, and how their love develops. Yeah, I'm a bit of a romantic! Well done.
V. Joy Ocasio06/03/12
I loved this! :) What a sweet story!