Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)
TITLE: The Legacy of Grace
By Rachel Burkum
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A smile creased my lips as I remembered the first time I had met Grace. I had been alone and scared, emotionally abandoned by my family and struggling to survive. No one had cared about me…except Grace. Grace, whose eyes could pierce a steel plate, yet cradle a crying child with love. Grace, whose hands told stories of hardships, yet when mending a broken heart, were soft as a dawn’s first glow. Grace, whose bent frame and silver hair displayed survival of the darkest battles, while her laughter rang crisp and new like spring’s first rain.
I looked on the frail face that mirrored tranquility itself. No one would ever have guessed the valleys she had passed through to bring her here today. Grace’s life had been wrought with trial after trial. Her own family had turned their backs on her. Sickness had plagued her body. The world had spat in her face, rejecting her in every way. But nothing had ever stifled her passion. Nothing had ever interfered with her unending kindness for the weak, her loyalty to the broken, or her faithfulness to the Lord.
Grace’s life of true devotion and courage had become a source of shelter. When walking the streets, shivering in the cold, or lost on the highway bound for strife, somehow Grace’s warmth had always led me back to the welcoming kitchen that smelled of apple pie and love. She had always said it was her own tribulations that had taught her to look upon others differently than the world did. It was Grace’s faith that guided her, undaunted, through any circumstance. “Life has been hard,” she had always said. “But the Shepherd has kept me safe all my years. He has shown me miracles and wonders of His love, and He’s revealed His path to the Eternal Kingdom. I will fear no evil.”
It had been through Grace’s witness that I had been led to Christ. The chains of my heart had been unlocked, the doors had been opened, and the shelves that held all my teenage years full of hate and anger had been washed clean. I had found a new family - one that would never leave or forsake me.
Grace had taught me love. She had taught me peace beyond all understanding and a forgiveness like no other. She had walked through the fire of sorrow, but showed me how to find happiness in any circumstance. She had begged for mercy from God to stop the daily torment of hate towards her beliefs, and yet she showed me the true heart of a servant. She had lived, persecuted by her family for her giving spirit, but she taught me that living for God made it all worthwhile. Grace had walked through valleys that I dared not even think about. But satan had not won.
I choked on a muffled sob as Grace’s hand lightly slipped from mine to rest peacefully next to her still form. I reached out to touch her soft hair one more time, and bent down to brush my lips on her cheek. She had feared no evil, and now she was Home. She was with the God whom she had given her life to so many years before.
I would miss Grace - the world seemed a less cheerful place without her smile. But I knew I was not alone. God had sent Grace to me so that I might believe and share in that eternal joy. Though my mentor was gone, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord was with her, and I looked forward to the day when I would pass through my own valley and see my friend’s face again.
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