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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Threefold Cord (04/12/12)

TITLE: The Storm
By Melinda Melton


The wind blew with such force the trees bent close to the ground. We continued West down the rural road, while the sky grew darker, the clouds hung low and swirled above us.

We should have listened to the forecasters and stayed home but we had to go to the couple’s retreat to save our marriage. This would be our Hail Mary, our last chance to avoid divorce. Somehow over the years, our perfect marriage had turned into two people living separately under one roof. Love and communication were only memories of a distant past.

We drove through the driving rain in pelting silence. Hail fell from the sky and to the South we could see the fast approaching storm.

“Is that a tail dipping out of that cloud?”

Tim looked in that direction and at that moment, a tornado came twirling down and touched on the ground heading in our direction. He swerved the car to the side of the road and we ran to the nearest ditch.

Wind whipped around us flinging debris in the air. The tornado was gone but the wind was tremendous. Huge gray cotton ball clouds swirled above. Day became like night.

My husband and I huddled together in the ditch. We were surrounded by farm land and no shelter could be seen. Suddenly the tornado dropped from the low hanging cloud again and began to churn the earth. The atmosphere was heavy; the sound of the roaring tornado deafening.

We clung to each other like never before. Seeking to shield each other from the storm, we watched in horror as the monster approached with great speed.

“I love you Maggie, I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to hurt you!” Tim screamed.

I buried my head into his chest and wept. “I love you too and I’m sorry, please forgive me!”

Tim prayed, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name.”

Suddenly I felt like there was a third presence huddling with us. We prayed together for God’s mercy and grace. We felt stronger together and stood to proclaim God’s promises.

“Jesus, in the Word it says where two or three are gathered, you are there. Jesus save us!” cried out my husband.

“Lord, you are our strong tower. We run to you for safety!” I prayed as I looked heavenward.

We lifted our arms high. “Lord we have faith in you, we believe Lord.”

My husband turned toward the tornado and loudly said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to be silent and be still!”

Before our eyes, the tornado became smaller and smaller. It became a small rope and went back into the cloud. The wind became still. A gentle rain fell.

My husband and I looked deeply into one another’s eyes then held each other tight. I still felt that third presence and I knew it was God.

My husband whispered into my ear, “All we needed was God, Maggie. That’s what has been missing in our marriage.”

It takes three to make a strong marriage. You, me and God.” I whispered back and said a silent prayer of thanksgiving.

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This article has been read 455 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/19/12
This is a masterpiece. You did an outstanding job building on the conflict and creating suspense. Your descriptions made me feel like I was right there and I could feel my heart beat faster.

The only thing I might even consider was the last paragraph. I think the ending would have been even stronger if you had left it with the husband's line. I'm not sure why I feel that way, perhaps the wife's last line didn't feel as real to me or perhaps it felt like you were repeating yourself rather than let the reader figure out the lesson for herself.

But even with that uncertain opinion of the end, I still think the conclusion was strong and answered all of my questions. I also want to give you kudos for going a tad outside of the box and not use the Ecclesiastes verse that so many others used. You really did a great job developing the characters and making me want to read more of your work. I think this may be the best story I've read thus far on this topic.
PamFord Davis 04/22/12
Round of applause!
Drama! Suspense! Climax!
I love happy endings and rejoice that the ending was in reality a new beginning!

Wing His Words,
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/22/12
Another thing that made this story great is the messages. You have the obvious one about marriage takes a lot of work but also the one that having Christ be the center of our focus doesn't mean we don't stumble but Jesus is there to pick us up. I believe I could read this at several different points in my life and would get a different message from it each time. That takes great talent.
Graham Insley04/22/12
In a word, brilliant.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/22/12
Your descriptions of the storm were superb, and I thought your actual storm and the storm of the marriage made for a good comparison.
Allison Egley 04/22/12
Nice job with this. You took a common interpretation of the topic, but went at it from a unique angle.

As someone else pointed out, I don't think you needed the last paragraph. Your story illustrated it well enough.

Great job.
Lillian Rhoades 04/22/12
With few words, you've said much - A short, short story that begins well, and holds you captive to the end.

If only all marriages could make it through the "storm" as this one did.

Donna Wilcher04/22/12
Absolutely brilliant! You spoke to the topic perfectly!

With this kind of writing, you won't stay in the Beginners level very long!

Keep up the good work!
Amanda Brogan04/23/12
Love it! Great job with using a literal storm to teach the couple what they needed to clear the storm in their marriage.

I agree with Donna - you won't be in Beginner's for long!
Laura Manley04/24/12
A very descriptive and on-target entry. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Sometimes it takes what happened to this couple to wake them up to the realization that God is the only One who can hold a marriage together. Very nicely done!
C D Swanson 04/26/12
Congrats! God Bless~
Theresa Santy 04/26/12
Congratulations Melinda! Love this deeply moving piece. Your descriptions are so intense, I could feel the tornado churning the earth, and then, the pressure lifting and the hand of God fell upon the couple.

Well done!
Donna Wilcher04/26/12
Congratulations! Well deserved win!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/26/12
Congratulations for your 2nd place ribbon and for ranking 15th overall!