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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Embarrassed (07/19/07)

TITLE: Behind Nancy May's smile
By paula pinto


Something was always different about Nancy May. I saw her as a beautiful, warm, loving eighteen year old, hidding behind a quiet, insecure, self-image. In spite of our conversations to try and crack her shell, nothing seemed to work. When I commented on her well-kept appearance and elegant soft black hair, she'd look at me as though I were speaking some foreign language. There was no telling why the compliments offered by me, her youth leader, was rejected, but I was in hope that sooner or later she'd receive at least one.
Intelligent was a mere understatment to describe Nancy, and dedicated didn't say enough either. Everything she did, she did whole heartedly. Her smile, her laugh, and her eencouraging words demonstrated that she had the love of Christ to share with others. Yet when I'd speak about his love for her, her eyes would point downwards as though she couldn't receive it.
After graduating college, she got a job planning political functions right outside of Washington,DC, nearly a 200 miles from the church where we attended, and we bid our last goodbyes during a Friday night youth service.
"You know Nancy, some people come into a church and when they leave, its though they are taking a piece of the church with them," I tearfully said to her. She smiled, and hugged me goodbye. I handed her a package I had got her with a devotional bible, and a card with the meaning of her name on it, 'Nancy.. Full of Grace.'
Thirteen years went by before the next time she walked through the doors of our church. My oldest son whom Nancy useto rock to sleep was thirteen and now Nancy was holding a baby of her own.
She told me how her husband wanted to attend the service with her but had to work overtime.
"You look even more beautiful then you did thirteen years ago Nancy."
"Thank you," she said confidentaly.
Her response was different then anything I had remembered.
"Lisa," she said. "Thirteen years ago I either didn't know how beautiful I was or I interpreted beauty as a bad thing. I was hidding behind the wounds some man had given to me as a little girl, alone and embarassed."
My eyes began to water.
"You'd tell me Jesus loved me and I couldn't believe any man did. I thought they were all the same, Christ included. Eventually he would do me wrong to...I thought. And when I'd think about all the years I spent blamming him for the malice of some other man, I thought, who am I to be forgiven? I never thought I was so important.
"Nany, I wish I would have known. I would have done something to help you," I said.
"I know you would have. And you did," she continued.Three years ago I was cleaning out an old wallet and came across a card you gave me with the meaning of my name, "Full of Grace," and soemthing happened to me. I saw myself as a lady, something God had created with a purpose, but also I saw a God who could help me to forgive and I could find healing. I learned what it was to be loved that day and what it is to to love."
I reached out my arms and wrapped them around her.
The love she showed that day was even greater then I remembered it to be as when she was a teenager, and for the first time I could feel her receiving all the love I had for her as well.

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This article has been read 614 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Martha Ford07/26/07
A heart-warming story. It's wonderful to learn how past kindnesses are used by God. Thank you for sharing.
Dee Yoder 07/27/07
We may never know when we've been an encouragement to another sister or brother in the Lord. Thanks for a great story to remind me to offer words of encouragement while I can.
Myrna Noyes07/29/07
This is a very touching story with an important message! We may not know why someone acts as they do, but we can treat them with respect as a person of value. It is exciting to know that one small act of kindness can have great results!

I would like to suggest that you space between paragraphs for easier reading.

Thanks for sharing this story! :)
Joanne Sher 08/03/07
Congratulations, Paula. Your entry has placed 10th in Level 2. Well Done! The Lists for the Top 15 in each Level and the Top 40 overall is available in the Weekly Results and Highest Rankings forum of our Faithwriters Message Boards.
Farhad Chermahini11/12/14
This is a moving story! It's wonderful to see how God used you to help restore her sense of self-worth. Thank you for writing this.