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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)

TITLE: Empty Shame
By Pat Guy


It was not an occasion she wanted to face. And in all honesty, she wanted to avoid it. But the time had come, for she no longer could live with herself.

No, it was worse than that. She no longer wanted to exist … not if it meant living as she was now.

She went to her room and locked the door. There was no comfort there, only a silvery pool of an endless abyss reflecting back into her face. An empty heart cries no tears. She turned away embarrassed by the depravity of her own image – she closed her eyes and leaned against the door for support. She was weakening … just like all the other times.

The tired grind of the wooden fan was a weary reminder of so many things in her life that were broken. Its disjointed sway stirred the stench of her tattered clothing – it was nauseating and revolting to her senses. Echoes of condemnation reverberated off the four blue walls. Shame was going to win … again.

There was only one way for her to survive another day – only one possible thing to do.

Surrender … surrender to Mercy.

Was it too late?

A sigh of trepidation fell heavy upon her crusted feet. She could not bear to look into His eyes for how could He bear to look upon her? Legs trembled – shoulders drooped. She held onto the desk as she eased down to her knees – the grind of the fan matching the ache of her limbs.

Would He hear her?


Rags fell off her as dust. A shroud of scarlet covered her nakedness as Righteousness was draped around her body – already warm from the One who had worn it … from the One who sat at the Father’s right hand.

Her skin tingled with renewed cleansing from the crown of her head to the soles of her feet. Essence of Purity, so fragrant, filled her lungs, releasing life into deep sinews of her soul, purging the abyss.

A fresh Breeze lifted her face brushing away lose tendrils – reviving parched cheeks. Its whispers banishing echoes of condemnation until there were none left. She was not alone.

Her Companion spoke as she struggled for words … “Let us approach the Throne of Grace with confidence so you may receive Mercy and find Grace to help you in your time of need.”*

Her arms lifted like wings as she stood in apparel of such high Price. Apparel worthy to approach the King – worthy along side her Companion.

The tired grind of the weary fan stirred a sweet savor… a pleasing aroma to her Father … One who crucified all shame … a long time ago.

And she wept … with a full heart.

*Adapted from Hebrews 4:16


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This article has been read 1175 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Cartwright07/12/07
A poignant picture of the efficacy and all-sufficiency of His grace, greatest when we need it most.
Dee Yoder 07/12/07
How wonderful is the grace and mercy we have in God through Christ. Your story illustrates the newness and refreshment just waiting for us every moment if we will just ask and then receive.
Lynda Schultz 07/12/07
What wonderful description. This line especially moved me: "Rags fell off her as dust. A shroud of scarlet covered her nakedness as Righteousness was draped around her body – already warm from the One who had worn it … from the One who sat at the Father’s right hand."
Jan Ackerson 07/12/07
You're the 2nd writer on this level who has brought to mind the words of a cherished hymn:

"Clothed in His righteousness alone / Faultless to stand before the throne"

Your descriptive language is so beautiful, so compelling--I've never been able to figure out how to be descriptive without adjective overkill, but you nailed it, with an economy of words. You always pick just the right ones! Absolutely stunning.
Sharlyn Guthrie07/12/07
What a beautiful picture of God's cleansing power. I also appreciate your focus on shame, as it cripples so many Christians. Excellent writing.
Dixie Phillips07/13/07
Oh my, my, my.... Loved the way it started out with EMPTY SHAME and then an encounter with the Father and she ended with a full heart of His love and acceptance. Honestly, this is one of the most beautiful pieces I've ever read. It really needs to be published. Countless lives would be helped.
Patty Wysong07/14/07
What a visual picture of God's mercy. Wonderful!
Renee McKee07/14/07
You did a wonderful job. I knew excatally how you or this person in this article felt. So many times I have had that empty shame but than the Father God shows me his love through his mercy. That warmth in brace of his arms around me and letting me know that every things is all right. Great writing, keep up the work.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/15/07
This is a wonderfully written story to illustrate God's grace, our only confidence.
william price07/15/07
Very visual. I had a lil trouble with the flow of the piece reading it silent, but when I read it aloud I got what you were doing.
Masterfull descriptions and great ministry point. I really enjoyed it and appreciated the talent and anointing of the writer. God bless.
dub W07/17/07
Generally, a brilliant work, loved the style of the adaptation. I am interested if you intended some of the capitals, if there was a dup of meaning. I played with the words and the letters trying to decode; would love to sit and discuss this sometime. Oh, you missed an introductory comma, no biggie.
Sally Hanan07/17/07
Beautifully written. I know that many writers like to give qualities of God capitals, like mercy and grace, but it's not good grammar, even if you're trying to personify them. Great job otherwise!
Joanne Sher 07/17/07
This was like a tapestry - beautiful in its layers and imagery. Wonderful, my friend.
Benjamin Graber07/17/07
Wow, another EXCELLENT entry! This is such a moving story that we all can relate to.
Jacquelyn Horne07/17/07
A wonderful account of how deep we go in sin and how merciful the blood of the Savior is.
Jacquelyn Horne07/17/07
A wonderful account of how deep we go in sin and how merciful the blood of the Savior is.
Linda Watson Owen07/17/07
Your poet soul is showing, friend! In fact, as much as I love this piece, I'd love even more to see it put into poetic form. I agree too with Lynda. This image is AWESOME, "...as Righteousness was draped around her body – already warm from the One who had worn it..." You really pulled all the sensory images in. Yes, this piece resounds with poetry.
Sara Harricharan 07/18/07
I can only add my own comments of wonderful and awesome writing to this piece! It is simply beautiful. The imagery, the way you link everything together. Wonderful, wonderful writing! ^_^
Loren T. Lowery07/18/07
Great visual piece and your heart shone through. Reminded me, too, a bit of the wisdom found in Proverbs.
I liked the names you used for the Holy Spirit and the subtle way you reminded us of His many names by capitilizing them. Somehow, I think, too, there is more to this story that has been told.
Kristen Hester07/18/07
This is wonderful. It spoke to me in a very personal way. Thank so much for this story.
Brenda Welc07/18/07
As I was reading this I felt hugged. Great work here.
Elizabeth Baize07/18/07
Wow! I'm not sure what to say! You brought so many senses into this through the grinding fan and the warmth of the robe that it really drew me in. I loved the how the fan's function was changed in the end.
Dianne Janak09/16/07
I read this long ago, and failed to comment. Now I must. I am printing it out to try to help a hurting soul who needs to know in God there is no shame. The fan was a wonderful word picture. In Texas fans are necessary for comfort in the heat, and a staple for living. It spoke to me on so many levels. Thank you. I can see this as poetry also. Inspired!
Peter Stone12/15/07
This is such a beautiful rendition of a sinner disgusted with their own life yet somehow reaching out to our merciful God and receiving cleansing forgiveness. Loved the way you included each member of the Godhead in the scene. I feel that the article would have been even deeper should have shown what situation had led to this episode of self disgust. Perhaps a mistake/sin that we commonly commit. This would have helped us to relate even more with the character.
Gerald Shuler 12/13/08
What a wonderful re-write of the Bible. If lost teens and adults knew that this kind of suspense is found throughout God's Word, the Bible would once again become the best seller it should be. You have shown, in such a very few words, how the hopeless masses can truly find what they need... Hope.

Your mini-teaser certainly did its job.
Lyn Churchyard12/13/08
WOW! This is beautifully written. Again, I say WOW!
Seema Bagai 12/13/08
Beautiful. I am in awe of this piece of writing. Having "been there", I can appreciate the images you created and the emotions you evoked. Wow!
Leah Nichols 12/14/08
Beautiful writing! Very well done - and I agree, quite poetic. If you had more words, it would make it even better, but you wrote very well within the limit. Great job!
Tim Pickl12/14/08
A perfect picture of hoplessness transformed into hopeFULness, as only Jesus can. WOW!