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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Vision (08/03/06)

TITLE: Deborah's Vision
By Sandra Fischer


Marissa studied her face in the mirror. “I am God’s child,” she spoke to the image and smiled. She opened the mirrored cabinet door. The vanity side mirrors caused an “infinity” effect – repeating her image until it compressed into one small line.

“Forever, I’m His – even when I am old and wrinkled and the “Oil of Delay” has ceased to work its wonders, He is my hope.” She laughed. The closer we get to going to heaven, the more gravity seems to take over – pulling our sagging bodies closer to earth instead!

Thank you, Lord, that you would claim this withering old body as a living sacrifice – yet, I know that you are more interested in my heart – and I am happy that it is yours.

That had not always been the case, of course, and as she walked through the bedroom her eyes fell on her daughter’s picture. What a beautiful woman you have become, dear Deborah, and what a joy it is to be your mother. She gazed at the dark, brown eyes and thought about how this child had amazed her so many times with her insight and wisdom. Yes, I was the teacher, the mother, but you taught me so much!

One memory always surfaced from her heart’s treasury when she thought of Deborah as a child – a scene so vivid that each time she recounted it, all her senses became energized by the memory of it. The smell of fried chicken, the angry tirade and slamming of utensils, the shocked faces of her older daughter and the sound of the youngest one’s cries – all would come back like a panoramic replay.

Thank you for this memory, Lord, it reminds me of how much I needed you in my life.

Marissa had been sinking into a dark hole in her life back then. She had gone from being the mother of one, when Deborah was five, to being the mother of three. Two more girls had entered the household – a newborn and a teenager. The newborn was expected, but the teenager was her stepdaughter, who suddenly decided to come live with the family at that time. It was like having twins – 13 years apart.

Life had been stressful for the whole family and Marissa was particularly angry and unhappy most of the time. She never seemed to get a handle on anything and her husband, who worked long hours and on weekends, was not much support. Her sharp tongue and quick temper could be ignited at the least spark of discontent.

It’s strange – I don’t remember what set me off that night, but what happened as a result is what’s important.

It was during dinner and something had made Marissa angry at the baby, now a toddler. She had slammed a utensil on the high chair tray and yelled at her, then threw the utensil across the room. The other two girls, Deborah and her sister, were trying to eat amidst the furor, an all too common scene in their lives. Suddenly, Deborah burst into tears and ran from the room.

“Where do you think you’re going, young lady?” Marissa’s fuming voice followed her.

Bounding up the stairs, Marissa charged into Deborah’s room to find her sobbing on her bed.

“Just what do you have to cry about – I wasn’t yelling at you!”

Deborah buried her face into her pillow and wailed, “I’m crying because I don’t want to see the kind of mother I will be when I grow up!”

Oh, Lord, how you pierced my heart that day with a child’s vision!

Gripped by the stinging words, Marissa tried to suck air – the stomach punch of truth had taken her breath away. In one small moment, conviction, sorrow and remorse replaced the space that anger had occupied. It was a beginning. . .

Now, some thirty years later, as Marissa replaced the picture of her grown daughter back on the dresser, the precious memory of that day reminded her of how God can use the wisdom of a child to lead a mother to repent, to seek salvation and forgiveness. She walked back into the bathroom to the vanity and as she opened the mirrored door again, she took note of her infinite image stretching to a fine point.

Dear God, only you see the beginning and end of our days. I praise you for drawing me to you and for working out the events of my life for my good and your glory!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/10/06
Oh, I really like this! Deborah's words and her vision really do go straight to the heart.

My only suggestion would be to end it sooner and to resist the temptation to summarize several years in one paragraph, which is a bit anticlimactic after the wonderful immediacy of the rest of the piece. Maybe end after "It was a beginning..."

The "frame" of Marissa looking in the mirror at the beginning and the end is very effective.
Sharon Singley08/11/06
This is a very well written and poignent story. I commend you on a job well done. It would be wonderful if we could all see ourselves through the vision of others. Imagine how many things we would change if we did.
Dolores Stohler08/11/06
A masterful portrait of a mother's life. I can really identify with this, having raised 3 children, all so very different, amidst sickness & strife and the loss of a husband. Well done.
Gary Sims08/13/06
Isn't it amazing how God can take small, every-day moments in our lives to suddenly reveal His glory and a better way to live? This is a good story that can provide hope for a lot of people struggling in the day-to-day struggles we all face in life. (I know its rare, but it would be nice to read a story where the husband is actually helpful in these situations.)