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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)

TITLE: Side by Side
By L.M. Lee


I was new. The others had been together for years. Whether I would fit in was yet to be seen. These ladies could easily have been my daughters. God’s reasoning mystified me.

Time inevitably passed. Casual friendships blossomed. My role as nurturing mom formulated. Their youth energized me.

Jennifer was a favorite. It wasn’t just her captivating beauty, it was her spirit. She was genuine. She was doing her best to manage two toddlers and a working husband who was himself a fulltime student. Their entire residence was a bedroom. Add an unplanned pregnancy and her concerns were obvious.

Originally they were slated for the foreign mission field. The first delay was the birth of Joshua. Then Joyful joined the family. Now three years later, their plans had evaporated like a mirage on desert sands.

I watched her over the passing months. She was always thinking of others. She was the first to encourage or offer help. She was very selfless, something lacking in most young women. It seemed every time I entered my prayer closet, she was the topic.

Whenever possible I offered tangible assistance. I would watch her babies or cook a meal. Nothing spectacular, but I knew it helped.

Her husband graduated and instead of joining the mission team, he took a job. We laughed. He was the first person I had ever met who felt disappointment over landing a plum job right out of college. Yet, instead of bitterness, they accepted it as God’s plan.

With Jennifer’s tummy and their financing growing, they began seeking a house. Week after week they tirelessly combed the listings to find a place. Every door was slammed shut and every window locked tight. Nothing seemed to be happening.

Each week I watched as Jennifer’s assurance dwindled as her due date approached. Her confidence in God’s provision began to waver. I often asked God how much longer.

One week Jennifer broke. All her fears, frustrations and worries spilled into our laps. I simply held her and lovingly stroked her hair. I knew God could turn their fortunes on a dime, but when or how I didn’t have a clue.

Ah, the insensitive callousness of youth! Several of the other ladies began to philosophize as to why she was in her situation. Job’s friends couldn’t have held a candle to these ladies. I started to rebuke them, but held my tongue. I remember my younger days as some of my own “bright” ideas replayed. Better to be silent and allow the Holy Spirit to teach those lessons. I squeezed Jennifer a little tighter.

I checked on her several times over the next week. I took her and the kids out one evening while her husband was working. We shopped. I laughed as her kids frolicked on the playground and dreamed of grandchildren. Not a lot was said. Quiet understanding passed between us. The baby kicked. New life inspired a fresh breeze of hope.

The next week we were all astonished when Jennifer arrived. She looked like a new woman. Nothing had changed. Her situation was the same. When asked she smiled and told us all, “I know my Daddy loves me. It’ll be okay.”

That was it. She had rediscovered her faith in her Abba Father’s love for her. She knew somehow, someway, God was going to take care of everything. He hadn’t forgotten about her.

Two weeks before her delivery date, she arrived at small group with a newspaper. Circled in read was an ad. Five acres with 2,500 square foot home for $56,000.00.

“It’s ours!” she exclaimed, “We have a home!”

Tears of joy flowed all around. She glowed!

That weekend we helped move them. It was a glorious day! I loved being there. The men debated the best way to load or unload furniture. The women chased children and kept their men fed. But once more I was again reminded of an immeasurable lesson.

In walking side-by-side with others, I find strength and courage. Observing others’ hard fought victories gives me confidence that as I walk through my valleys, I will one day reach the Mountain of God!

© 8/13/06

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This article has been read 984 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Julia May08/18/06
This is a heart-lifting story. Good job. In Christ's Love,

Helen Paynter08/19/06
A lovely, lifting piece, delicately written. THank you.
Jessica Schmit08/19/06
I really, truly enjoyed this piece. You held my attention throughout the entire thing and the story moved effortlessly. Very well written with a wonderful story weaved throughout. It sounded true which is an even nicer part of this piece.
terri tiffany08/22/06
Beautifully written. A real treasure that encourages. Thank you for writing it!:)
Venice Kichura08/22/06
Just lovely!!
Beth Muehlhausen08/23/06
A sweet story full of tenderness.

(Hey, what is a "plum job" anyway??)

It is wonderful that you can tell this from the perspective of a non-family sister in Christ who invested so much of herself.

Good job!