Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Control (01/30/06)
TITLE: Swinging High
By Gwynn Turner
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It had been a picture-perfect day – the kind of day that a person wants to capture in a bottle and save forever. It was the kind of day that retains all of the sights and sounds and smells of each moment even after 14 years have come and quickly gone. That day had been the kind of day that finds itself as the backdrop of a beautiful page in a mother’s scrapbook dedicated to the life of her firstborn daughter – her little girl.
As Shannon peered down onto the page of that precious day in Missy’s third year of life, she suddenly found herself longing for that instant in time when she was still the very center of her daughter’s universe. That little girl’s sparkling green eyes gazed back intently through the snapshot that had forever captured in time the bond that these days weren’t visible in a teenager’s all-knowing glance – better known as “the eye roll.”
“Where are you going, Missy?”
“Out,” came Missy’s usual reply.
Patiently, Shannon continued, “Out, where?”
“Good grief, Mom,” Missy exclaimed as she shot her mother a look that was intended to wound her, “I’m going to grab a bite with Jenna and then we’re going to hang out with some friends. Do you have to know everything about every single moment of my life? And while we’re at it, why can’t you call me Melissa the way I’ve asked you to? Is that too much to ask?”
The hurtful words and cutting look had their intended effect. Shannon sighed deeply and addressed the stranger in front of her, simply stating, “ No, Melissa, I guess that isn’t too much to ask. Please be careful and be home by curfew.”
And with that Missy was gone. Gone into the world of teenage girls and boys who know everything there is to know about everything. This was a world where parents ceased to exist and, for teens, that made life all the more desirable.
Shannon picked up the scrapbook on her lap and moved into the kitchen, blinking back the fresh tears that threatened to erupt. Sitting down at the table where so many of their special conversations had taken place, she began to reflect on the time that had passed between that splendid day in June and this lonely day in February some 14 years later.
“When did I lose her?” Shannon wondered, “When did my little girl go from happily being Mommy’s shadow to this unfamiliar individual simply tolerating the woman who gave birth to her? At what point did I lose control?”
At that moment, Shannon felt a deep stirring within her to open her devotional Bible which was lying on the table. She tried to dismiss the sensation but the more she resisted, the stronger the need became and she realized that it was the Holy Spirit nudging her to seek the answers to her questions from the only One who could answer them.
“Okay, Lord, I’m listening,” Shannon said out loud as she reached for her Bible, “help me understand what I did wrong with my little girl. How can I get her back? What can I do to bring her back to me…and to You?”
The house was remarkably quiet. Shannon closed her eyes and listened for the answers, trusting that God had heard her plea and would show her the way. Time seemed to stand still as she waited upon His voice, waited upon Divine guidance. As an unexplainable feeling of peace enveloped her, Shannon slowly opened her eyes and turned in her Bible to the promise that God has for each one of His children:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)
Smiling, Shannon looked down into the green-eyed girl’s eyes once more and claimed that truth for her daughter. She relinquished her control to the One who had Missy’s future in His hands.
Letting go felt good. It felt like swinging high on a perfect summer day.
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