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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Obedience (01/31/05)

TITLE: Margaret's Child
By Sally Hanan


She was such a stubborn child. Many was the night her mother cried in the silence of her room, filled with self-loathing and condemnation, wondering why she could not be the mother she had always pictured in her mind.

Jaclyn’s first word was NO. When Margaret told the story to her seemingly perfect friends they all shook their heads and laughed at the apparent joke, and Margaret smiled with them, quietly desperate to perceive the humorous side of it all but never seeing it.

Margaret tried so hard to love her unconditionally, but Jaclyn seemed to persistently push her buttons. At times Margaret horrified herself with the anger and control she subjected Jaclyn to, although her anger was more at herself than her child. Margaret was failing at the one thing she had thought she could do well- love her own offspring. She longed to have the closeness with her daughter that her perfect friends boasted of with theirs, but she never seemed to be able to get close.

And then the baby-sitter came.

Margaret did not see the weekly love showered down from above through this gentle woman to the blood of her blood. She did not hear Holy Spirit speak forth the news of eternal peace to her child.. She did not see Jaclyn kneel down at the side of her bed one night at the age of four, eyes shut tight, fingers interlocking, palms pressed together. She did not hear the words, which angels rejoiced over for a long time afterwards.
“God? I’m sorry for being bad. Please forgive me and come into my heart. Amen.”

By the time Jaclyn was fifteen she had only walked a short way down Jesus’ narrow path. She knew enough to obey Him when He told her to quit smoking, lying and drinking, but the longing in her to be loved caused her to take the wide road of carnal vice. She knew it was wrong. She argued with herself that it was OK, as God knew how much she needed to feel love. Rebellion seethed underneath her farcical compliance to Margaret’s controlling demands. Distrust and discord reigned on both sides.

At 17 Jaclyn could see it on other Christians’ faces, the glow, that radiance that seemed to emanate from their core being. As she questioned those same people and knew she should follow only Jesus, her desiring heart yearned to obey likewise, but her soul kicked and screamed in the same way it had since infancy. For months she fought and disagreed and argued with His wisdom, all to no avail – there was no other way to get the peace she wanted. She was going to have to trust Him and do it His way. Trust was the one thing that scared the h*ll out of her.

Margaret, yet again, did not see Jaclyn as she knelt at the side of her bed; eyes shut tight, hands gripping the sheets in fear. She did not hear the words, which angels rejoiced over for a long time afterwards.
“God? I’m sorry for not trusting You. I’ve wanted to obey You completely for so long, but I was so scared. I’m still scared, but I know that this is what I have to do.” She took a long breath. “I surrender. I give you my rights, my friends, my future job, my future husband, my money, my life. You can do whatever You choose to do with me.”

As if in direct response from the heavens, the peace that passes all understanding flooded into her heart and soul. Tears trickled down her cheeks, but this time they were not tears of rebellion – they were of restful happiness. Jaclyn finally felt loved.

This time, Margaret did see. She saw the humility. She watched the giant chasm between them narrow. The defiance and rage in her grown child were gone. Jaclyn radiated an inner happiness that was genuine.

Margaret knows why Jaclyn has changed. Every day she sees the evidence of God in Jaclyn’s life; from the way she loves her husband to the way she mothers her children. And maybe, just maybe, one of these days Margaret will move beyond her self-hatred and fear enough to sink to her knees beside her bed with her eyes shut tight, fingers interlocking, palms pressed together, and give the angels something to rejoice about.

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This article has been read 1139 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Crista Darr02/08/05
I enjoyed your story very much. Peace only comes through surrender to Jesus.
Thomasina Laskar02/09/05
I loved this! I had a friend in high school named Margaret, and so this article naturally caught my attention. Great imagery, great storytelling.
Jonita (Jay) Johnson02/09/05
Thank you for this. So often we forget, in the frenzy of raising our children, how our actions can hurt and surpress the one we love the most. I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks, Jay
Debbie OConnor02/11/05
Outstanding! What a vivid picture of the power of original sin and a long walk toward submission. As a childcare provider I pray my many prayers for a "Jaclyn" will bear similar fruit. Great writing! I love the hope for the mother in the end too.
Cheri Hardaway 02/12/05
This touched my heart in ways you will never know! Thank you so much for sharing. You write well, and I especially liked the imagery of Jaclyn surrendering in prayer beside her bed at four and again at seventeen, and how you tied it all together at the end with the same image of hope for Mom. Wow! God bless,