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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)

TITLE: Jamie Grows Up
By Deborah Engle


Some children are so rough and tumble that you can’t help but be concerned about their well being. Jamie was a different kind of child, though. He approached each day with a sweet and cheerful disposition. Indeed, there was an endearing gentleness about Jamie. He had a beautiful rosy complexion, soft red hair, dark gray eyes and the most wonderful smile you’ve ever seen. Though just a bit on the small side, he had the abundant energy of any typical toddler but was never rowdy or difficult. Yet, first-born sons have expectations to fill and examples to set. Would Jamie’s tender heart be equal to the task? How well would he cope with the challenges of life?

On his first birthday, the house was filled with family and friends. Jamie seemed a little bewildered but still seemed to enjoy all the activity. Everything went as planned until it was time for the cake. Not quite sure what to do with the small cake in front of him, he eventually did what we all hoped he would. He made a big mess of himself and ate a little bit of the cake. Thankfully, he waited until after we got a few pictures before he did the unexpected- he brought it all back up! Too much excitement had produced a nervous stomach. It seemed that my son didn’t handle stress very well!

Several months later, we were quite surprised by his reaction to something we had paid no attention to. As Jamie wandered about the room during a slide show, he stepped in front of the projector and was confronted with his shadow. Because of the small size of the room, the shadow did some strange things. As his efforts to move away from it failed, he was filled with terror. To his little mind it must have seemed like a monster, and there was no calming him. Our docile little Jamie wanted none of it and was very vocal about it!

Like any parent, I waited anxiously for new milestones, but found that Jamie had to be prodded to attempt any unfamiliar activity. It took some coaxing to get him to climb on his jungle gym, and when his daddy picked him up and set him in a tree one day, you could see the panic in Jamie’s eyes as he clung tightly to the branch. One evening when he was about three, his daddy got on the floor to wrestle with him but Jamie wasn’t interested. After unsuccessfully trying to escape, he frantically shouted, “Daddy, quit horsing me around!” Later, he strongly objected when the training wheels were removed from his bike, even though he had no need for them. It seemed there was not an adventurous bone in his body. He was going to take the road less traveled, at least by little boys. He was going to take the safe road.

With his gentle nature, his diminutive size, and his cherubic looks, it was inevitable that Jamie’s fearfulness would make him the target of some neighborhood bully. On one occasion I literally had to rescue him from the hands of a 180 LB, 5 foot 10 inch tall 12 year old! I still wonder what might have happened if Jamie’s little brother had not run home to get me.

No matter how hard he tried to avoid it, Jamie’s little-boy life was an adventure because all children face challenges and trials. Character and confidence develop through wise and loving guidance and my son was fortunate to have had many such influences in his life. The boy who was once afraid of his shadow is now an adult with numerous adventures under his belt, including two years on his high school wrestling team. He has experienced and reveled in mountain climbing, bungee jumping, spelunking, white-water rafting and wilderness trips. He has traveled to three continents, and will soon be moving to a foreign country to serve as a missionary.

His hair is not quite as bright as it once was, and his complexion has lost that rosy glow, but the child that he was has made him the man he is today. The fear that once controlled him has become determination; the sensitive nature that once restrained him has enabled him to respond to God’s call on his life. What better example could he be? And all those expectations? They have surely been abundantly satisfied!

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This article has been read 742 times
Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood08/30/07
I really enjoyed this story! Jamie comes alive in it--I can see him and feel as though I know him. Beautiful, vivid descriptions.

The title also drew me in--titles with personal names in them always spark my curiosity about the owners of those names.

Great job!
Helen Murray08/31/07
It's amazing what God puts into our children and brings out as they develop. This fabulous story will encourage many parents of beautiful, very sensitive children.
christine bastow09/01/07
I loved the way that Jamie changed from the fearful boy, to fearless man. A great story and well done. chris x
Phyllis Inniss09/03/07
How beautifully you told this story. There was just a bit of humour, a little anxiety as to what would happen to Jamie and then the unfolding of his character and personality which blossomed into strength of character and a spiritual need to serve others. How wonderful is our God who does all things well and thanks to you for sharing.
Jan Ackerson 09/03/07
This loving tribute and character sketch was a blessing to read.
Dee Yoder 09/03/07
What a beautiful story! I really was encouraged as I read the ending of your story, for my son is very cautious about everything, too. That sensitive heart is a treasure to the Lord. It's so easy for the sensitive soul to hear the loving call of God on his life.
Joanne Sher 09/07/07
Congratulations, Deborah. Your entry has placed 8th in Level 2. 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
Sandy Hall11/20/07
We know this young man personally and just recently had him and his wife in our home. God has truly blessed you as his mother. May God use his quiet, determined ways to accomplish great things for His Kingdom.