Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Start (01/16/06)
TITLE: To Start Living
By Ann Darcy
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“Get out here you little rat!” He growled, his eyes blazed with anger and lust. “I’m not paying for it this time, you brat!” He came towards me, the aging floor creaking with every step he took. He reached out to grab me and I cowered away one last time…
I jerked up in my bed, my muscles locking into a stressed position all over my body; it hurt, but I couldn’t ease them. Sweat poured off my face, intermixing with the tears that unwillingly fell down my cheeks. My nightgown stuck to my back like glue, and my legs felt hot and sticky. “This happens all the time, Abby, shouldn’t you be used to it by now?” I chided myself as I lit a candle to ward off the shadows of the trees playing in the breeze outside my window. Why did my past still haunt me? Why couldn’t I seem to free myself of these memories and start over? The nightmares kept coming, the flashbacks from when my mother had sold herself and her daughter as a package deal—just to pay off the large gambling debts she had wracked up. Was this how it was always going to be?
I had come here to start a new life, to put the horrors of my past behind me. And still it gripped me like a shackle around my neck. Still haunted my every dream… still keeping me from making eye contact with every man I passed on the street. It wasn’t working, my plan, it was failing miserably. Guilt flowed through my veins like the blood that kept me alive.
I tried with every fighting chance to win over this forsaken life that I had been forced to live. “Will I ever?” I mumbled to myself as I lay in bed, my body still shaking from my dreams. I wiped my eyes with the sleeve of my nightgown, rubbing my forehead, my cheeks, and my neck.
I touched my fingers to my throat, feeling my raging pulse beneath my skin. I felt for the silver chain I knew was there… It was the only thing that remained of the happiness in my life—happiness that was but a vague memory now—the time when Daddy had been alive. He had lived and loved with joy in his eyes and his smile. Mother had worn the necklace then, before he died. But the night we had buried him, she had thrown it away, unable to cope with the grief. It was a rapid slide, the grief turned to gambling, gambling to abuse. She felt betrayed by the God she had once believed in. I had taken the necklace from the garbage after she was asleep and had worn it ever since—in memory of better times.
I slid my fingers along the chain until I found the heart shaped pendant hanging from it. I rubbed them over the engraving, then pulled it out and read the small lettering for the thousandth time. And yet for the first time it clicked.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” †
I realized it then, I could be free now. I needed to let God remake me. I had to stop trying to trudge along in my own strength. I had to give it up, and then no longer would I be a slave to my past—or my mother’s choices. Nor was I bound down by the guilt I felt. I could be free; I could live a life without everything that had ever repulsed me about my past. Everything was forgiven, the chains unlocked, the sorrows melted away. All was forgotten.
I had just become a new, beautiful, creation. And I was now free to start living!
† 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV
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