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

TITLE: My Life as a 'Blue Light Special'
By Valora Otis


It was 9:05 A.M. I had dropped my son at his job before making my way through the crowds at K-Mart. Checking my watch; I had just enough time to grab some bread for lunch before leaving for work that day.

Bright colored clothing blurred together as I hurried past the camera display barely noticing the items that screamed ‘buy me’.

Suddenly, I felt a pain in my leg like that of a sleeping limb coming awake after sitting too long. Growing stronger, it spread to my hip and down to my foot. I stumbled as my leg lost all feeling. I stopped my rush, panic stricken. The feeling was only in my left leg, not my right. I shifted my weight and leaned on my cart. All reason fled as I hobbled back to the front of the store.

“It’s just a pinched nerve. It’ll work its way out. I’ll be just fine,” I said aloud as I placed the items on the conveyer for a very slow clerk. It felt like an eternity while an unknown attacker slowly spread taking my arm as its next victim. My natural movement was overcome by a growing paralysis.

I looked at the clerk in fear while focusing on my words.
“Hurry, I’m very ill and I need to get out of here!” She nodded flinching at my pallor.

As unrealistic as it seemed, I prayed I could make it to the car, as I struggled to the doors.

One door said Enter, the other Exit. I knew then that I couldn’t do it. A kind gentleman saw that I was dragging my leg and helped me to the phone.

I dialed my son at work. “Jason, it’s mom, I need you to run over here to K-Mart and drive me to the emergency room!”

At the Hospital I saw the signs Enter and Exit.

I was taught that self talk matters. “Don’t panic Val,” I said, “you made it in and out of the last doors, and you’ll do the same here. You’re not going to die.”

While sitting in the waiting room, the left side of my face went numb. Panic consuming me as my face went slack. My husband found me weeping as he rushed through the doors.

One look and he swept me up in his arms, yelling for assistance.

“Honey, your okay.” He soothed as the nurse arrived.

“We’re taking you to a room.” She pointed to the wheelchair.

Suddenly I was like the blue light special at K-mart. Several doctors poked me asking me questions. Hours became a blur while entering into a new world of machines, tests and the absence of pain. The arthritis I had complained about for years had vanished. How many times had I prayed for that pain to leave my aching body? The phrase “Be careful what you ask for” came to mind as I became the passive participant of a mixed blessing. I was in a hospital bed had three neurologists and a full time nurse.

Four days later, I overheard my doctor say I was going to be transferred to an extended care facility. I couldn’t care for myself at home and the insurance wanted me transferred out.

I started to pray in earnest. I prayed because I was afraid for my kids. Next I prayed for forgiveness for feeling sorry for myself. Lastly, I prayed that I would walk again and I would go home and not to that facility. I prayed my heart out, crying all the while as the words left my lips.

I knew that faith could move mountains if I would only have the ‘faith of a mustard seed.’ I slept deeply that night feeling comforted by the spirit. I felt freedom from my worries for the first time in days.

The next morning, the physical therapist asked to assist me in several strengthening exercises. “Why not?” I thought.

Suddenly I felt the tingling sensation that had started all my problems. Startled at first, I was soon weeping with the knowledge that God had heard my cries for his healing grace. Joy spread through my limbs faster than the feeling that came creeping back slowly over the next few months.

The memory of my arrival through those hospital doors came to mind, making me grateful for the knowledge that I would be ‘walking’ through them again. I felt blessed to enter into a world of possibilities with my family cheering me towards full recovery.

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This article has been read 842 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Amy Michelle Wiley 03/07/06
Awesome story. Praise be to God!
Virginia Gorg03/09/06
Nicely written, except for some grammar and punctuation errors ('your' vs 'you're'). Kept my attention and had me praying for the outcome God provided.
Sandra Petersen 03/12/06
Your title attracted my attention, and I thought the story was going to be in the style of Wally McDoogle. The drama of the oncoming stroke (which is what it was, wasn't it?) kept me reading to the end.
You chose some excellent sentences to describe your increasing panic: "It felt like an eternity while an unknown attacker slowly spread taking my arm as its next victim."; "As unrealistic as it seemed, I prayed I could make it to the car, as I struggled to the doors."; "One door said Enter, the other Exit. I knew then that I couldn’t do it." At that point, were you starting to not understand the meaning of words? Clarify that a little, since not everyone would know the warning signs of a stroke. At some point, the doctors should pronounce a diagnosis of what happened so the reader knows for certain.
I'm not sure if the entire last paragraph is needed; maybe just the first sentence of that paragraph.
I had another favorite sentence besides the ones already quoted: "The arthritis I had complained about for years had vanished. How many times had I prayed for that pain to leave my aching body?"
You are a great writer, helping us to 'feel' the onset of your ordeal and pointing us to the greatness of our God. Thank you!
Suzanne R04/12/06
How terrifying! You've tied in 'enter' well with the theme, but I'm so happy to know that you were able to 'exit' BOTH times too! The way you linked the blue light special at the beginning with the hospital experience was well done.

Thank God for bringing you through that awful time.

Good writing.
Edy T Johnson 05/29/06
This is dynamite writing! Real life, emotionally engaging, technically perfect. This could be expanded into a feature article in any women's magazine, I would think. God bless you!
Marilyn Schnepp 10/02/06
A Blue Light Special indeed! A great story, and told in such an interesting way that it wasn't like the "Ho Hum" you feel when listening to a boring commentary of somebody's aches and pains. It was deliciously delightful...if that makes sense; and kept my interest throughout, moving me to tears. Loved it!...and praise God that He does answer Knee-Mail!
Laury Hubrich 01/14/08
Valora, thank you for sharing your memories with me. Sounds like a very scary ordeal.