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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)

TITLE: Beauty from Within
By Cristy Zinn


“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

Jarred tapped his pencil absently on his notebook as the teacher at the front of the class droned on about something Shakespearean. He hadn’t paid attention the entire class and as usual, his day dreaming had to do with a girl. Well, two actually.

A few rows ahead of him, side by side – though not by choice – sat Clarissa and Sarah. Clarissa was his almost-girlfriend, at least that’s what his friends called her because they were supposedly perfect for each other. But Clarissa was Jarred’s worst nightmare. Sure she was gorgeous but she was more conceited than any girl he had ever met. The more he got to know her, the uglier she seemed to him.

Now Sarah was another story entirely. She wasn’t like the other people he hung out with but there was something about her that took Jarred’s breath away. She smiled from her eyes and laughed from her belly and didn’t mind sitting on the grass at football games or getting filthy at the car wash their school held to raise money for the local orphanage. She was real. He couldn’t see a single bone of pretence in her and it made her so attractive. Beautiful even.

Clarissa turned around, flicking her thick hair over her shoulder and smiling at him suggestively. Jarred smiled back awkwardly but when she turned away he rolled his eyes. He couldn’t bare the thought of having to spend the entire lunch break with her.

“What’s your problem?” Gary whispered fiercely from across the row.

“Nothing.” Jarred mumbled. How on earth would he explain that he didn’t want what all his friends thought he would be crazy to refuse?

When the bell finally sounded, Jarred bolted from the room. He had to dodge his friends before they got to the cafeteria so that he wouldn’t be lumped with Clarissa again. Instead he stood behind a pillar watching Sarah. She wasn’t wearing any make-up and Jarred couldn’t remember when last he’d seen a girl at school without make up on. Her skin was smooth and freckled beneath her bright blue eyes. He watched as she took her tray to a table where her friends were waiting and then bowed her head for a moment before she started eating.

Jarred frowned, remembering that in Sarah’s last oral exam she had presented a talk on her uncle who was a missionary and how he was teaching people about Jesus Christ. So, she was a Christian. She looked so full of joy that it made him feel happy. Was it her God that made her feel like that? Was it God that made her beautiful? He wondered.

Suddenly Sarah looked up and caught him staring at her. He ducked behind the pillar and cursed himself for being such a fool. What was he doing staring at her anyway?

A light tap on his shoulder startled him and he swung round to find Sarah standing in front of him.

“Hi Jarred.” There was that smile again, full and unashamed.

“Hi.” He said, lifting his hand in an awkward wave.

“I was wondering if you would like to join us.” She asked.

“Who?” he asked.

“Me and my friends. I saw you standing here on your own and I thought maybe you needed a place to sit.” She smiled again. She really was beautiful, no matter what his friends said and he suddenly realised what it was. It wasn’t just that she was confident and happy but she was pure. She had not come to offer him a seat at her table to gain popularity or because she wanted a date to a dance but because she thought he was alone. Pure motives from a pure girl.

“I think I’d like that.”

“You want to go get something to eat first?” she asked with smiling eyes.

“No, I think the conversation will be filling enough.”

Sarah shrugged, “if you say so. Come on, I’ll introduce you to everyone.”

Over the next few months, Jarred got to know all the people at Sarah’s table and discovered that all of them were beautiful, so much more beautiful than the people he had hung around with before. And they were all beautiful for the same reason: God. It was as if God’s undeniable glory radiated through them, making His beauty their own. Jarred would never look at another girl the same way.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/15/07
I liked very much your story illustrating the verse. It's true that that God shines in beauty in young people and older ones, too.
Mo 06/17/07
Nice. Great last line.
Dee Yoder 06/19/07
A truth that teens could learn from. I like your characters and setting; they're perfect for this genre.