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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Dead End (02/06/14)

TITLE: A Dead End Life - (non-fiction)
By Stephanie Eckenroad
02/13/14


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I looked at my husband and smiled as I watched our daughters, dressed in their Sunday best, sitting quietly between us on our typical church pew. I was clothed beautifully on the outside, prepared to sing church songs and to hear a message that would lift me up. Surprisingly, what happened that warm spring morning in our small town church wasn’t a message from our pastor that changed my life, but a message directly from God to my poorly clothed heart.

Into our bright, sunny sanctuary walked a women clothed in black leather with her leather clad family. They looked as if they walked in directly from a biker rally. She was known as a “bad girl” in school, and all I knew was that I didn’t want anything to do with her and “her kind.” I had no reason for not liking her other than her darkness scared me. Immediately when I turned my head and saw her take a seat I thought, “What is she doing here?”

I slowly turned toward the front of the church and looked at the large wooden cross hanging high above us all and prayed, “God, she and her dead end life do not belong here.” I was blind to what religion was doing to my heart.

God, in his gracious mercy knew, and because of His deep love for me, even when I didn’t deserve it, woke me that night as I slept. “You owe this woman an apology. Write a letter and make this right.” I pulled the blankets off, and sat at the edge of my bed. Did I really just hear this or was it a dream? Either way, I knew what I must do. I found my nicest stationery and penned the strangest letter I have ever written. In the quietness of the night, I came to terms with the darkness in my religious heart.

I wrote and explained my horrible thoughts, and I asked for forgiveness. Placing that letter in the mailbox was difficult. I had no idea what her response would be. I knew that I didn’t deserve any kindness, so I sent it with a prayer.

What unfolded in the days after, showed me the importance of obedience, even when it is difficult or it doesn’t make sense.

Over time, I came to learn that where I saw darkness that day, light was beginning to enter. What I saw as a dead end life was no dead end at all, but a life just being born. Just as in real birth, sometimes it’s not always cleaned up and pretty right away, it takes hands of love to complete the process.

Now, many years later, I am proud to call this woman my sister and my friend. It doesn’t matter that she is comfortable in a fast car or on the back of a Harley. Together we are walking hand-in-hand, through this abundant life, clothed in the beauty of God’s grace and forgiveness.


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CD (Camille) Swanson 02/14/14
Oh I loved this! Thank you!

God bless~~