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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: 24 Hours (01/27/11)

TITLE: The Gift that Keeps on Giving
By Kathy Stevens


“That’s the last straw! I can’t take it anymore! My life is over; there is nothing to live for. I may as well be dead.” Cari buries her face in her hands. Her delicate frame is bent and every fiber of her being trembles with each huge sob. Never in her young life has she experienced anything as painful as the pain of the heart. It feels as if it will burst at any moment, leaving parts of her flung in every direction. Surely there is no hope for her now, she feels as if her very existence is in jeopardy.

Slowly the door of her bedroom opens and she hears, “Cari, are you all right in here? I thought I heard . . . .”

Between sobs, she tilts her head up slightly, not really sure she is ready to leave the safety of her self-imposed prison. “Mom? Oh, Mom, what can I do, it hurts so bad. Tommy and I were going to be together forever and now . . . .” Once again, the throbbing waves of pain spill out of her soul, flowing down her cheeks. She tries to catch her breath in between the onslaught of agony that has so cruelly taken her captive.

“I am so sorry, sweetheart, what happened? Do you want to talk about it?” Her mother holds her as if to try to absorb some of the pain for her.

“He . . . he broke up with me today and he is going with that new girl, Jessica. How can he do this to me, Mom? We were . . . uh, are in love. You can’t stop love just like that, can you? How can someone profess to love you deeply one day and not the next?”

Holding her close Mom strokes her hair. “Sweetheart, I know someone who loves you more than Tommy ever could. He even died for you. He gave the last agony filled twenty-four hours of his whole life just for you. His love is not fickle, it is forever. No matter what you do or what circumstances are in your life, He will never leave you or forsake you. He thinks about you all the time and has even carved your name in His hand.”

Her hands are down from her face now. She is calmed for a moment. “Huh?"

“Remember when your dad read it last night in Isaiah 49:15? It said, ‘Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.'"

“Yes, I remember . . . He really does love me doesn’t He?”

“He loves you more than anyone ever could, even more than your dad and I love you and that’s a lot.”

“I . . . I guess I never thought of it that way.”

“Remember in John 19 we read about everything Jesus endured on the cross for us. He did it for love. It is the greatest love story every told. No matter how much we try, we will never be able to love anyone as much as the pure, uncompromisingly, unconditional love Jesus has for us. We can try very hard, and we do try, but somehow, we will always come up a little short compared to His love.

“The last twenty-four hours of the life of Jesus demonstrates to us, in no uncertain terms, the reason He came and died that horrible death. It was an all important day for us.”

Waves of realization stream over her face and a new light comes over her. “If . . . if He could die for me on His last day, I will certainly begin to count each of my days for Him. I will also look at love differently too. I didn’t realize how very important one moment in time could be. It makes all the difference doesn’t it Mom? What would we do without that gift of twenty-four hours?”

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Member Comments
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Brenda Rice 02/03/11
So like teen-agers, life can be destroyed in twenty-four hours and restored in the next twenty-four. Good advice given by the mom. Nice job. Thanks for sharing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/04/11
Oh how painful it is to watch your child go through that horrible feeling of rejection. Your first paragraphs really grabbed my attention. How nice that Jesus is always there loving us.
Mildred Sheldon02/05/11
Oh the pain of our first love as a teenager. I loved how the mother handled the situation. Truly beautiful and so tender.
diana kay02/06/11
good writing.as mother of a teenage girl i can relate to this "end of the world" feeling in the emotional ups and downs of friendships.
you have captured the moment well and used a religious parallel. I am glad the teenager in the story was so receptive to that, i think mine might just respond differently in the intensity of the moment.would make a great story for a youth group :-)
Cherry Bieber 02/06/11
This definitely takes us to the heart of the matter!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/10/11
Congratulations for placing 8th in level two!