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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Note (02/07/13)

TITLE: The Power of a Word
By Stephanie Eckenroad
02/13/13


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It was my eleventh birthday, and I was not celebrating, as I had expected, I was mourning. I was sitting on my grandma’s beat up porch swing watching a storm roll in. Normally, Grandma would be holding me, telling me not to be afraid. “Storms won’t hurt you,” she would whisper in my ear. But today, on my eleventh birthday, I was alone, telling my grandma good-bye, and I felt afraid about more than the storm.
My grandma’s arms were my safe place. She was strict and not what one would consider “fun,” but she was there, and I knew that she loved me. Always ready to hold me and teach me a lesson that I didn’t even know that I needed. She liked me and made me feel like having me with her was the greatest thing in the world for her. At the time, not many people made me feel that way. My parents divorced, remarried, and started new families. They were doing the best they knew to do, yet children tend to get lost in the middle of it all.
That is where I found myself that warm, May day - lost, alone, and afraid. “Who was going to take care of me now?” “Who would be glad to have this awkward little girl close by?” These were the questions rolling around in my broken heart, as the clouds grew darker by the minute. I felt completely alone.
A few days had passed and much to my surprise, a yellow envelope came to my mailbox. Most of the people I was closest with, lived within miles of me, so getting mail was unusual. When I opened it, I was surprised to find a short note from my aunt. In it, she told me that she knew how sad I must be, but then she told me a story:
“Every night when you lay down to go to sleep there is an angel on your right shoulder, watching you. You can speak to that angel and the angel will let God know all that’s in your heart. You are never alone.”
Many years have passed, and the note has been lost in my transitions through life, but the message has never left my heart. It may not be theologically correct, but for a lost eleven-year-old girl, it was a note of love and hope. It helped me to heal and move forward in a world that seemed overrun with darkness. I hope to never forget the power of a few words spoken in love. They can change a life. They did mine.


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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/17/13
Oh what a beautiful story. You did a nice job of pulling the pain of the lost little girl out of the page. I can so relate because even though I have three kids of my own, I often still feel lost little girl.

The only thing that would make this stronger is to do more showing and less telling. For example the line I was mourning is a passive sentence that tells the reader the emotions. Try to avoid passive verbs like was and show the reader with something like this: I hugged my knees up to my chin as the pain in my heart jerked me back to the reality that Grandma would never again wrap her arms around me. That's just an example but I hope it shows you what I mean.

I think you have a delight knack of storytelling. You did a nice job off covering the topic in a fresh way. Your message is divine and one we all need reminding of from time to time. No matter how alone and lost we feel Jesus is always there for us.
Yvonne Blake 02/20/13
Ah...what a sweet story!