Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: WEEKEND AWAY (short vacation) (07/23/15)
- TITLE: The Difference
By Cindy Duncan
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I had planned this trip eight months ago, but so much had changed since then.
Due to circumstances not entirely under our control, our once successful business was gone. We had spent all of our money, first in breathing life into this business, then in attempting to save it from an untimely death. But it was not to be. Our home was now under foreclosure, and my car was probably on the repo man’s list of pending pickups. Yet my husband, Rick, was insisting that I go. “One weekend away is not going to make a difference,” he said.
He did have a point, since the cabin was rented and paid for months ago. If I canceled at the last minute, I wouldn’t get any money back, and I would have to endure countless questions from my sister. Our weekend getaways were a yearly tradition, but this year, in addition to my eight-year old niece Gracie, my sister would be bringing with her my new nephew, Grant, who was only six weeks old. Having no children of my own, I tended to spoil Gracie, and I was looking forward to meeting little Grant.
So I went. To a tiny cabin in the mountains of Tennessee. A change of scenery for a city dweller like myself, to be sure. When I arrived at the cabin Friday night, Gracie was the first to greet me.
In the past, I would bring her a gift, and I worried about that during the drive to the cabin. Would she notice that I didn’t have anything for her this time? Would she feel differently about me now that I could no longer afford to spoil her? My fears were unfounded, however, because she didn’t seem to notice at all.
Saturday morning came bright and early, with Gracie eager to get started. In the past, during these vacations with my sister, I would pay for us to go to all kinds of activities, but this year, with the remote cabin setting, there was not much to do that required money. Thank goodness for that.
We spent the day talking, laughing, and enjoying nature. Gracie and I played cards on the front porch while my sister tended to Grant, and we all had a picnic by the lake, throwing our bread scraps into the water and watching the fish fight over them. With Grant in his stroller, we took a long walk along the pathway in the woods, counting squirrels and naming birds. Later, Gracie and her mom made dinner, and I laid little Grant on my chest while he napped. I could feel his sweet baby breath on my neck as he slept with an amazing peacefulness that seemed impossible to me.
That night, while getting ready for bed, I overheard Gracie talking in the next room. But when I looked in the room, she was alone. She was praying. For me.
“Thank you, God, for letting us come on this vacation, and thank you for my aunt Janie. I love her so much, and I know that you do too. Please show her how much you love her, because she seemed a little sad today.”
Once you’ve overheard a child praying for you, you’re hooked. You’ll give them anything. That’s why when Gracie woke me up at eight-o’clock the next morning and asked me to go to church with her, I couldn’t refuse, even though I wasn’t the church going type.
As we walked in the door of the little church down the road, I knew that God had already answered Gracie’s prayer. I felt love and peace like I had never felt before. All my problems seemed so insignificant as I listened to the preacher tell what Jesus had done for me.
When it came time for the invitation, tears were flowing down my cheeks. Sweet Gracie took my hand, and asked me, “Do you want me to go with you?” All I could do was nod as we stepped out in the aisle, and walked down to the altar. That’s where I gave my heart to Jesus, accepted his free gift of salvation, and changed my life forever.
That afternoon, on my way home, I called Rick. “Did you have a good time?” he asked.
“I had a wonderful time, Rick, and by the way, you were wrong,” I said. “One weekend away did make a difference.”
This story is fiction.
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