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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: The Big Picture
By Tina Abplanalp


The cold wind of winter howled past me blowing snow in rotating cyclones down the street. I shivered and turned the collar of my coat up to cover my ears from the frosty chill. As I walked briskly past the old church, the huge stained glass window seemed to call to me. Although I was hurrying to a meeting, I stopped in my tracks as if overcome by a sudden compulsion to view the window from inside the building.

I hadnít been inside that church in over 20 years. I hesitated for a moment and took a deep breath. Then I quickly scaled the steps and opened the heavy wooden doors to the chapel. Once inside, I stood in awe as I gazed up at the beautiful Tiffany glass crafted by skilled artisans more than a century ago.

I always liked that window, I thought, as I remembered staring at the glass many times when I was a child. I liked to count the hundreds of pieces of colorful glass in the image towering over me. It kept my mind busy and my mouth quiet during many long church services. Itís funny that I didnít really see the big picture then.

Slowly I eased my body into a pew and sat in silence, my eyes fixed on the image of the Lord on the glistening glass. Below his feet, the words leaped out at me: ďI am the way, the truth, and the life.Ē (John 14:6; KJV) The passage echoed in my mind as my eyes traced the outline of the nail prints on His feet and hands. His arms stretched out, beckoning me to come unto Him. Oh, if only I could.

Tears trickled down my cheeks. My sobs broke the silence of the church. I felt as if my heart were breaking into a million splinters like someone had sent a baseball hurling through that beautiful stained-glass window shattering it on the floor below me.

I wanted so much to reach out, take the Lordís hand, and step right out of the picture of my life that seemed to have no meaning for me. I prayed for redemption and forgiveness. At that very minute, I laid all my hurt and pain at His feet. ďOh, God, how I want to know the way, the truth, and the life. Please help me pick up the pieces of my broken existence and feel whole.Ē

Just then, the mid-day sun streamed through the window, painting a rainbow of pastels across my white silk blouse. I watched the prism of colors dance across the room. Then I closed my eyes and let the sunshine bathe my body in its warmth. Sweet warmth.

The sun was so intense that all I could see and feel was scarlet. I felt the pain of Christís agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, drops of blood seeping from every pore. I felt the pain of His beatings and crucifixion, the blood of life being drained from His body. Then I saw and felt the white light of joy when He was resurrected. The sun burned an image of the risen Lord in my soul, cleansing me, healing me, restoring the once-broken pieces of my life. Deliverance.

Tears of gratitude streamed down my cheeks. For the first time in my life I saw the big picture, not just the tiny pieces of broken glass that made up the whole. I finally understood, really understood the meaning of my life and His. The Lordís ultimate gift was given for me because he loves me.

How can I repay you, Lord?
Please show me the way.
Help me find your love again
In the light of each new day.

When darkness seeks to bury me
In depths of pain and sorrow,
Please help me rise above my trials
To find a bright tomorrow.

And when my heart is broken
By some thoughtless word or deed,
Help me to forgive and remember
That your love is all I need.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Mary Alice Bowles02/16/06
This is a beautiful article. You are a very good writer. I felt like I was right there with you. God is so wonderful, he always comes to our rescue just in time.
May God continue to bless your writing in a special way.