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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Easter (05/30/05)

TITLE: Saving Grace
By Joyce Simoneaux


Dizzy got on the church bus and stood at the front observing the others. They were all dressed up in fancy clothes. She suddenly became all too aware of her own shabby clothing. She put on the cleanest jeans and t-shirt she could find in the house. Her mom hadn’t done the laundry in a week. She was too busy nursing hangovers and then getting soused again.

Most of the children were trying not to look at her for fear that she would try to sit with them as she made her way toward the back of the bus. “You can sit with me.” Macy Turner was in the 8th grade with Dizzy. She patted the empty seat next to her as Dizzy surveyed her pretty dress and shoes with envy that she would never reveal. She sat down, and the girls made the rest of the trip to church without speaking.

When the bus arrived, Dizzy took her time getting off, not sure if she would even go inside. Maybe she would just sit outside until it was over and then just catch a ride home. Macy stopped in front of Dizzy, “Come on. You can sit with me.”

Reluctantly, Dizzy went inside the church with Macy. She felt she stuck out like a sore thumb. Why did everyone have to get so dressed up for Easter any way? The girls made their way to an empty pew and sat down.

“Well, hello there young lady,” the pastor, Brother Alan, said as he greeted Dizzy. “What’s your name?” he continued with a smile. “Dizzy,” she responded nervously. “Well, now that’s an unusual name,” he said. “It’s a nickname my dad gave me before he died. My real name is Grace,” she replied as she squirmed in her seat. “I’m sorry for your loss,” he said as Dizzy nodded shyly.

During praise and worship, Dizzy felt uncomfortable and just stood there staring at the front of the church. After the singing was over, the congregation sat down, and the offering plate was passed. “So why does everyone make such a fuss about Easter?” asked Dizzy. “Just listen. You’ll see,” said Macy.

The pastor stepped up to the podium and started to tell the story of the first Easter. Dizzy was fascinated. As he told about how Jesus was betrayed, tried and beaten beyond recognition for something he didn’t do, Dizzy couldn’t believe it. As if that wasn’t enough, they killed him, too! She became so involved in the story that she didn’t even realize tears were falling down her face right onto the front of her shirt. At least it had a happy ending.

Dizzy had an anxious feeling inside the pit of her stomach.

After he finished his sermon, the pastor stood before the congregation and asked if there was anyone who was not sure if they died today that they would go to heaven. Dizzy’s heart began to race and a lump started to form in her throat. She didn’t understand what was happening to her.

“Jesus died for us, so we can have eternal life with Him. He conquered death and hell when He rose from the dead. Won’t you accept His gift of salvation today, the day we celebrate His death, burial and resurrection?”

Macy looked at Dizzy and smiled kindly at the sight of Dizzy standing there with a look of desperation and tears flowing freely from her eyes. She put her hand gently on Dizzy’s shoulder, “I’ll go with you if you like.” That’s all it took. She grabbed Macy’s hand and almost ran up the isle. Brother Alan smiled at them as they approached the altar with others who were experiencing the same call from God. “All of this is going to need a great deal more explaining,” she thought as the sick feeling was replaced by giddiness and a smile mixed with her tears.

After Brother Alan prayed with the group at the altar, he asked them to turn and face the congregation. As she turned, Dizzy saw huge smiles on the faces of everyone, and they all seemed to be staring especially at her. Brother Alan said, “Let’s give our new brothers and sisters a welcome into the family of God!”

The congregation applauded, and Dizzy felt more peace and happiness in that moment than she had felt since before her dad died! In fact, she felt like a new person.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Delores Baber06/06/05
A beautiful story! How appropriate that her real name was Grace. How different it might have been if she had felt unwelcomed or unwanted. Grace should have been the name of the little girl who extended her friendship to one that others avoided. That's what grace does. We come to Him in our filthy rags and He receives us. I could only wish that any church that Dizzy had visited that day would have received her as the 2 individuals in this church did. One to encourage her to come in and one to encourage her to come forward. Very good piece.
Shari Armstrong 06/07/05
Nice characterization. It also showed how sometimes all it takes is a friend to help us along with a little encouragement!
Chelsea Pietsch06/07/05
Hi, a good piece. I like your play on words with the title! I also think it contains an important message and might make readers think a bit more next time they see a stranger. Well done!
dub W06/08/05
Oh darn, I want to read more of this story. Several ways to handle this, but one, in particular, would be to make it a children's devotional.
Amy Verlennich06/08/05
LOVED the title as well, and the choice of names. Thanks!
Michelle Burkhardt06/11/05
I liked the title and the whole story. A nice way to show someone excepting Christ. I was moved when Grace grabbed Marcy's hand and ran to the altar.
Phyllis Inniss06/11/05
Nice title and excellent story. It just moved forward beautifully so that Dizzy even forgot her garments as she rendered her heart to the Lord.
Leticia Caroccio06/13/05
Nice story. Before I became a Christian, no matter what I was wearing, I still felt a sense of things not being quite right. Your main character was a strong one. You showed her vulnerability and her shame in such a real way. When the opportunity for salvation came, you managed to show the moment of truth. I enjoyed your story very much.
Crista Darr06/13/05
Extremely well-written with an awesome message of hope. All those who come to God, come in filthy rags -just like Dizzy. I love her and I love your story!
Peggy Yengling06/14/05
This was wonderful! It was so polished and well written! Your readers were scooped up right into the heart of the story. We were in the church, squirming with discomfort with Dizzy and then rejoicing with her as she ran down the aisle! And when the congregation welcomed her - the warmth of that moment just glowed. Great story! I agree... take it a step farther and go with it!