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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)

TITLE: Finding Purpose...Even In Wal-Mart
By Lisa Harris


Leaning her head on the back of her over-stuff chair, Grace-Anne tried to empty her mind. Pastor Steve led a Bible study a few nights ago and suggested that you ‘rest’ in God’s glory and goodness by clearing your head and focusing only on Him. Grace-Anne tried this and decided that it was much easier said than done.

“Obviously,” Grace-Anne said out loud to herself, “Pastor Steve does not have to clutter his mind with everyday wife and mother stuff that never seems to end, like the stack of dishes in the sink!

She wiggled around a little bit more in her chair and said, “Lord, please, please help me to empty my mind of everything but you.”

He did.

When she woke up an hour later, her mind was clear and ready to go, but did she concentrate on God’s glory? Grace-Anne doesn’t remember – she was snoring.

“Oh-well, I’ll try this on another day,” she said as she picked up the culprit of her everyday anxiety…the overwhelming “to-do” list.

“First thing to mark off is the groceries,” Grace-Anne muttered to herself.

She grabbed her purse and slung it on her shoulder, opened the garage and scrambled into her car heading towards her favorite one-stop shopping place – Wal-Mart.

In the quiet of the car, Grace-Anne talked with God.

“Lord, this list is killing me, it never ends. I’m totally weighed down with so many ‘to-do’s’ that I can’t seem to ‘rest-in-you’ as Pastor Steve said. I don’t feel like I’m doing anything to further Your Kingdom…”

Grace-Anne paused to brush away a frustrated tear.

“Lord, do I have a purpose besides this to-do list?”

Suddenly, she felt such a warm peace come over her and in her heart God spoke to her as she parked near the Garden Center at Wal-Mart.

“Grace-Anne,” the Lord said.


“I want you to go talk to the woman standing by the yellow flowers in the Garden Center.”

“That woman, Lord,” Grace-Anne said pointing inconspicuously to a 30-something, attractive woman.


“Okay Lord, but she looks like she has it all together with her cute hair cut, cute outfit and really tan legs, but I’ll go.”

“Thank you.”

Hesitantly, Grace-Anne walks towards the younger-than-her woman and sees her wipe a tear that had fallen on her cheek.

“Ma’am,” she says, “are you okay? Can I help you?”

Timidly, the woman replied, “Help? Oh, no I’m trying to pick out the freshest flowers for my son’s grave.”

Instantly, God allowed Grace-Anne to feel the oh-so familiar depth of sadness hovering over her soul.

The woman continued to say, “My son died last year in a car accident, Andrew was only five and starting kindergarten the next month, he was so excited to go to ‘big boy’ school.”

She knew at that moment, that they were kindred spirits…her heart mirrored Grace-Anne’s. God knew they were a match and He orchestrated this moment in time for both of their lives. Grace-Anne gently put her arm around the woman and quietly whispered near her ear.

“I also lost my five year old son, Matt, many years ago when a drunk driver slammed into our car.” He died instantly. My husband and I survived. He was our first born and only son.

She stared back…a look of shock written on her face. Tears pooling in her brown eyes ready to spill in a blink. A bond was made; it was sealed and signed by God.

“Andrew’s life was taken by two teenagers drinking and driving, he is gone forever. I will never see him again. If there is a God, why would he take my only child?” Grief was consuming her as she spoke.

Grace-Anne tenderly said, “My name is Grace-Anne… would you like to go inside for a cup of coffee?”

“Yes,” she said as she was trying to dry her eyes, and “oh...I’m Emily.”

This moment was God ordained and names truly did not matter – only the sharing of their hearts.

As she and Emily walked into Wal-Mart, Grace-Anne thought to herself…

Tomorrow, I’m going to try to empty my cluttered mind once again, hopefully without falling asleep. But, somehow I believe the car is where God does some of His best teachings. I just have to listen to find my purpose for that day…

Where I’m empty He fills in…even at Wal-Mart.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Mary Dahl06/11/09
Great story. I could really connect with Grace-Anne (at least at the beginning). Thanks for writing!
Janice Giesbrecht06/12/09
Thank you for this story! It's a simple story of obedience and glory but it affirms something God has been saying to me. Bless you!
diana kay06/13/09
good story. good title. tugged my heart strings too
Mildred Sheldon06/13/09
Oh I loved this story. Thank God for Kleenex. I am a mush mellon and felt their pain. Loved this true to life tale. Thank you.
Allan Morelos06/16/09
I really enjoy your insightful article. Thanks for sharing.
Deborah Porter 06/19/09
Hi Lisa. I just wanted to leave a quick note to congratulate you on your Highly Commended (4th place) award in Level 2, and to let you know you also did extremely well overall, ranking 37th out of all the entries for the week.

It was a big week of entries, so you really deserve an extra pat on the back. If you would like to see the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards.

Hope to see you at the FaithWriters' Conference in August. It’s going to be an amazing time of inspiration, information and encouragement. (If I’ve already mentioned that to you, forgive me. We’re just so excited about letting members know about this great gathering.)

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)