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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Enter (02/27/06)

TITLE: Whispered Sanctuary
By Caitlynn Lowe


Elyse ran as fast as she could while the hard rain continued to pelt the back of her bare legs. She had been running for hours now and her feet had begun to blister and bleed; yet she didn’t dare stop. She knew they were close behind her still. She just couldn’t let herself be caught. She wasn’t entirely sure who they were and what harm they meant, but she knew enough to see how sinister their intentions were. She had fought hard to preserve her innocence and childlike behavior, but that didn’t mean she was by any means naďve. She saw through them. And so, even if she couldn’t outrun them, she had to keep trying.

Her parents had tried to tell her that it was for the best, and that she should go peacefully. She very well may have, too, in spite of the fact that she knew deep-down inside of herself that her parents were once again just trying profit from their “burden”--her. After all, they had never loved her. But just as she was about to, a miraculous thing happened: A breeze, so gentle and light that it wouldn’t be enough to move a feather, came to her to move her heart and her feet. It carried on it a message, in a gentle yet powerful voice...and as Elyse ran, the words still ran through her mind:

“Run, My little one...For you must be freed before taken captive, and you must enter My sanctuary before entering your prison.”

She hadn’t a clue what those words had meant, but she could sense their urgency. So she took off, as fast as her feet could carry her, down dark alleyways and hidden places, the only thing keeping her from getting lost being that same gentle breeze. And just as Elyse felt as though she couldn’t run another inch, the breeze stopped. So she stopped. And as she looked up, she saw before her an old, small, run-down building, strangely magnificent with its pointed arches, ornate designs, and dimly-colored windows. Her first reaction was to turn away from it, yet, the longer she stood there, the stronger something began to pull at her to go inside.

Hesitantly, Elyse gathered her strength and her courage to enter in through the marvelously carved doorway, into the tiny building. As she did, a spirit of hope arose with her. Suddenly the sun shone through those dimly-colored windows with amazing brilliancy, casting an array of colors and pictures on the walls and floor. The inside of the building, while a bit dusty, was in no way as deserted as the outside had been. There were no people inside, yet the air smelled of warmth and peace and happiness. She examined her surroundings in a great sense of awe...every seat, every picture, every statue...until finally she came upon the most amazing sight in the whole place: there, upon a little alter, sat a little statue of a man, with his arms stretched out. She approached it, her eyes soaking up every detail. She soon saw that the man on that...well...cross, had his hands and feet nailed into that position, and that he was suffering. Somehow she knew, deep within her heart, that He did not deserve it...and somehow, for some reason, He was there both because of her, and for her. And as she gazed at the statue, she knew there was something more...she knew there was Hope.

Her heart stopped racing as Hope began to enter in, and for once in her life, she felt sanctuary here in this little building that she had been led to, not by a shout, but by a whisper. And as she awaited her fate, she knew that Someone loved her after all.

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Dara Sorensen03/06/06
I love it! I can feel her fear as she's running and then her peace when she finds Hope. Great job :-)
terri tiffany03/08/06
Very good! Loved the opening paragraph.
Jan Ackerson 03/10/06
I like the idea of the Holy Spirit as a gentle breeze. Perfect.
Lynda Schultz 03/10/06
Nicely done—great "pictures". I especially like this: "the breeze stopped. So she stopped." Sometimes we tend to run ahead of God as much as we often lag behind Him. Great thought to go at His pace and stop when He does.