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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)

TITLE: One on One Counseling
By Cheryl Harrison


Confrontation has never been my forte, but I knew I couldn't put this off any longer. Once we were alone, I would speak to her. While I waited, I examined the thick envelope in my hand. It contained all the essential documentation she needed to apply for the scholarship--a ten page application, four recommendation letters, and a written testimony. The package seemed complete. The deadline was only two days away, but she still had not mailed it. I sensed her fear, but I didn't understand why she was so scared.

Finally, we were alone. I challenged her procrastination, "Do you really believe that God has called you into the ministry?"

The woman standing in front of me remained silent. I gazed into her golden brown eyes. At first glance, she didn't appear to be the type of person who could handle the demands of ministry. I knew all about her struggle. She found it hard to believe that God would call her into His service. She often seemed apprehensive, maybe even a little confused about it.

She graduated high school, but her desire to attend college had faded long ago. Instead, she married right out of high school, and started a family. Her work history--although it was steady--did not reflect much ministry experience at all.

I assessed her outward appearance. She seemed ordinary. She dressed casually--often wearing worn out jeans, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes. I noticed a hint of natural gray highlighting in her short brown hair, but it didn’t matter. Even though she was well into her forties, she could still easily pass for thirty-five. I couldn't help but grin at her.

"Ok, no more fooling around,” I said, “tell me the truth. Do you believe God can use you?"

I sensed her deep desire to answer my questions, but at the same time, I discerned a huge barrier blocking her way. Her bottom lip quivered slightly. Her eyes glistened with tears. She fought hard against the emotional battle raging within her, but it was too much for her to control. Before long, she succumbed, and her tears flowed freely.

Seized by the raw emotion, I felt an urgent need to console her. For a spit second, I considered embracing her, but it became painfully clear to me that she was untouchable. I dismissed the thought and invited the Lord into our conversation. I prayed for wisdom, regained eye contact with her, and spoke to her need. "Trust me. You don't need to worry about this. God can use anyone who surrenders to His will. Please tell me what you really believe. Does God have a calling on your life? Do you believe He can use you?"

I maintained eye contact with her and waited for a response. She returned my gaze and then softly answered, "Yes."

I breathed a sigh of relief. “You won’t regret your decision. I promise you, there is nothing to be afraid of. Remember, if God is for us, who could be against us?"*

I gazed once more into her eyes. She seemed to relax a little. I reached out to touch her, but the mirror got in the way. "You know what, girl? Maybe, we should meet here on a regular basis. It’s apparent to me that we need each other.”

Peace washed over me as I walked away from the mirror. I exited the ladies room and walked toward the post office lobby. As I dropped the envelope into a mail box, I was reminded of God’s promise . . . being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

*Romans 8:30-32

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This article has been read 825 times
Member Comments
Member Date
DK Landers10/21/10
I enjoyed reading your story. I was pulled into the character's internal conflict and did not see the mirror coming. Very clever.
Brenda Rice 10/21/10
Your story is very creative and so intersting. You counseled yourself very well.
Mildred Sheldon10/21/10
I enjoyed this very much and didn't see the mirror. This drew me in like a moth to the flame. Thank you for a very good story.
c clemons10/22/10
Very, very good.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/22/10
This was a touching talk with a nice surprise ending.
Philippa Geaney 10/22/10
Yea--jolly good surprise!
Great writing.
Jan Ackerson 10/24/10
Clever twist, and very good writing skills.

The nitpicker in me wants to say that even though this was definitely face-to-face (well done), is it a conversation, if a person is talking to herself?

At any rate, I definitely enjoyed this entry. Well done!
Bola M. Eyinla10/24/10
This is a wonderful article. Thanks for writing it. Excellent writing!
Henry Clemmons10/24/10
I had a simliar idea with a mirror but didn't know how to pull it off. you did a great job. Enjoyed it much, very much.
Colin Nielsen10/25/10
Very very good. I got sucked in at the end. For a minute I thought the person doing the counselling was a man and there were issues there, which I suspect is what you wanted your readers to think.
Nichole Hall10/25/10
I like your writing a lot. I especially like the 'banter' of the body language. I read through it a second time paying just as much attention to that as the dialogue. Her personal struggle was even more clear in the body language. I like the concept that she's giving herself more than a pep talk...discovering her convictions, if you will, through herself by way of the mirror. Very cool! Didn't see the mirror coming, it was a great little twist.
Mona Purvis10/25/10
An ending that surprises the reader always takes the cake. This one did that for me. Fresh and creative.

Connie Dixon10/26/10
Nice take on the topic - loved your title. You definitely "got me" at the end. Good job.
Nancy Sullivan 10/28/10
Great job, Cheryl. That could have been me looking back from the mirror. Honored to be sharing the HC spot with you.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/28/10
Congratulations on a great placing!!!
Ann Wilds10/28/10
What a powerful message that we all need affirmation, even from ourselves, that we are usable and valuable to Him. I especialy loved how you twisted the ending into revealing that she was talking to herself. I wondered why she was untouchable but never thought of the mirror. Very well done.