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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cooking or Baking (01/04/07)

TITLE: Seasoned One
By Crista Darr


Cigarette smoke swirled past hardened faces, while tattooed arms reached under tables for hidden plastic baggies. Hustlers wiggled around pool tables, bending over to reveal tight-jeaned curves. Drunken voices rose in competition with the jukebox as Bob Segar’s husky voice serenaded beautiful losers.

The neon lights struggled to illuminate the darkness. So did I.

There was a vehement fire burning in my bones to seek and save the lost. Oh, that I could pull them from the gates of hell. I had good news for these hurting people – the people I knew and loved.

There is hope for the worst of sinners. Jesus came to take our punishment on the cross and give us eternal life.

Some listened, some ignored, others mocked. Whether they believed the message or not, it was obvious to all that something strange had happened to me.

I had come to know the living God. I thought my salvation guaranteed I would never sin again. I was wrong.

With the gospel of love and forgiveness on my tongue, I spun around on my barstool to order another beer. The fence I walked threatened a very long fall.

I went home drunk and ran for my Bible. The pages breathed life and death. Confirmation that I was, indeed, God’s witness flew off the page, but so did the warnings to repent. I was broken and confused.

I fell down before Him. “God,” I sobbed, “if you have set me free, why am I still out there?”

Assured that His Spirit, living inside of me, was the power I needed to kill this monster called my flesh, I arose with a renewed hope and a steadfast determination.

The war commenced; the first fight took place on a battlefield of kitchen tiles.

With a hungry husband and four ravenous children, cooking was a never-ending calling. I could whip up a seven course dinner while bouncing the baby and still juggle apples as a side show for the toddlers.

I was now faced with an even bigger challenge.

The children were occupied elsewhere and I had some time alone – or so I thought. The urge to get out of the house crept up and pounced on me. I wasn’t craving drink or drugs, just an escape from monotony. I was restless.

My experience told me where this familiar getaway would lead me. I resisted the temptation brewing in me.

I diced some fresh parsley, trying to forget my thoughts of escape. I lifted the lid on the pasta sauce and stirred. It spat at me, splattering my shirt like blood.

“Help me, Jesus!” I cried.

I paced the kitchen that was now my torture chamber. The temptation intensified.

“Help me, Jesus!”

I grabbed my chopping knife and attacked the onions. I felt the darkness hovering over me like a haunted cloud.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness in this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)

Never before had I noticed the presence of demon powers during this kind of temptation. Why would I? I had never before resisted their influence.

I kept wrestling.

In a sudden, brilliant flash, my Deliverer made His presence known. Drawing His sword from its sheath, a forgotten warning pierced my soul: “Will you sacrifice your firstborn for your sin?”

I shuddered, ashamed.

"How quickly we forget," I whispered.

The evil spirits oppressing me fled. I stood in awe at the power of His word.

Dinner was served with an offering of praise and thanksgiving. To my husband and children it was just another day, another meal. With their tummies rumbling as the smells of basil and garlic promised their favorite food, they never noticed the seasoned one was me. I sat among them a seasoned warrior, knowing the joy of a battle well fought and victorious.

Thank you, Jesus!

*Jeremiah 20:9
*Micah 6:7

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This article has been read 1023 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sharlyn Guthrie01/11/07
This is packed with vivid descriptions. I had a little trouble following the logical progression, however. The spiritual struggle seemed very real and believable.
Cheri Hardaway 01/12/07
"The neon lights struggled to illuminate the darkness. So did I." Loved this line! And I love how the Lord illumined the darkness that threatened to overwhelm you in the midst of the battle raging within. Funny how we can all look so normal, accomplished, even poised, going about our ordinary tasks each day -- while inside the enemy may be seeking to tear us limb from limb. Indeed, I wondered how cooking was going to come into play when I first began reading. Job well done. Blessings, Cheri
Debbie OConnor01/12/07
Wow! I didn't know what to expect, and then it all came together. The struggle against temptation, unobserved, was profound. I particularly love the ending, when you state that your husband and children had no idea what you had battled while they waited for their meal. I also love the title...Seasoned One...and it's meaning. Excellent.
Joanne Sher 01/15/07
Excellent description and detail. This left me breathless. I love your last paragraph!
Martha Robach01/15/07
Your article follows the stream of consciousness wonderfully of a "ordinary" mom and wife in the fight of her life against spiritual darkness. Making dinner can be a dramatic event indeed. Perhaps the loneliness and isolation of women taking care of their families at home contributes to the temptation. Wonderful description!
Jan Ackerson 01/15/07
One victory at a time...this is poignant and rings of truth. You've created a great character.
Chuck Livermore01/15/07
I've never struggled with alcohol or wanting to escape responsibilities at home, but I could relate to this woman. A very heart-felt piece.
Shari Armstrong 01/16/07
Very very well written
Sandra Petersen 01/16/07
Your opening two paragraphs paint a scene that too often I knew before I was saved. Your description was hard-hitting and just right.

This is a chilling line: "The fence I walked threatened a very long fall."

When I realized the narrator was a wife and mother of four, not a college student, biker, or homeless wretch, the impact of what was happening was even greater.

I wished you had a higher word count to show even more of the intense spiritual battle, but what I read described the personal battle against temptation very well. Very good job!
Trina Courtenay01/16/07
Great discription of a personal stronghold/struggle. The title fits this piece to the 'T'.
Pat Guy 01/16/07
This is a brilliant portrayal of the 'work in progress' we all are.

The sruggle - the failure, the struggle - the victory.

Yep - that's life as a Christian. Great reality writing here!
Leigh MacKelvey01/16/07

Because I've known alcoholics, both Christian and non-Christian, I could see the well written truth in your characer's struggle. People who have never had this problem or known someone who has it don't realize how difficult it is to cmplete a simple task when the mind is battling and desire is distracting. Wonderful real-life piece.
Caitlynn Lowe01/16/07
Very vividly written and interesting to read.
Debbie OConnor01/18/07
This was even better the second time around. You pack a punch in every line. Powerful, powerful writing.
Sally Hanan02/07/07
This was a great piece of writing, Christa. I'm surprised it didn't place.