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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)

TITLE: Step Into the Sunshine
By Rhonda Clark


A child’s laughter drew Sally to the window. She slipped her finger between the sun-warmed slats of the blind and peeked out. Two children rode their bikes in circles in the street while their mother pushed a baby stroller down the sidewalk.

Sally pulled her teeth across the side of her lip. Taking a leisurely walk down the block sounded inviting, but the thought of stepping outside her door caused a cloud of fear to surround her soul and constrict her throat. Her breathing grew shallow as she labored to pull air into her lungs. Pressing her hand against her chest, she backed away from the window and into the safety of her dark den.

She dropped into her easy chair and waited for the suffocating sensation to subside. For comfort, she turned on her constant companion and searched for her favorite television program. None of them seemed appealing, so she clicked off the television and switched on the lamp beside her. A Bible on the table caught her eye. Relief flooded her as she lifted the book up. Just caressing it in her hands gave her a bit of peace. She began to thumb through the Scriptures, not looking for anything in particular. Many passages caught her eye, but soon, she lost interest and moved to another. Then a verse in John leapt from the page.

I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.

Sally squirmed in her chair. This verse kept coming up in conversations with her daughter Virginia. In fact, her husband, Jed, had used it a few times too. She knew she shouldn’t be living inside this cave because she was a daughter of the King, but the world was such a daunting and foreboding place. The cloud once again put a strangle hold on her throat, but before her skin could begin to tingle with panic, her quivering fingers flipped the pages. She found herself in Jeremiah staring at these words:

For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

A curtain of conviction settled on her heart. God created the world, and He wouldn’t create something intended to harm her.

She stared at the covered windows that prevented light from invading her home. Her mind searched to remember the last time they were open. She couldn’t remember. Before anxiety could stop her, she dashed from her chair and began to raise the blinds—to allow God’s light to enter.

She stood in the middle of her den and watched the light chase the darkness into the crevasses beneath the furniture. The light felt good. It gave her a sense of joy, and a sense of confidence, but opening the blinds wasn’t enough. She wanted more of God’s light to fill her.

Sally took baby steps toward the front door. It appeared large and looming, but when she placed her hand on the smooth wood, it became small and reassuring. She traced the grain down to the brass doorknob. The constricting sensation she’d felt earlier was starting to return, but a new, more powerful sensation prevented fear from overwhelming her. This new sensation Sally identified as courage.

For a moment, Sally held the doorknob and allowed her courage to build. When she felt sufficiently bolstered, she opened her front door and stared through the glass paned screen. Fear crept up and gripped her heart once more as she placed her hand on the handle.

She closed her eyes and forced the fear to the pit of her stomach as she drank in the warmth of the morning sun.

“I can do this. I really can. I can step into the sunshine,” she said with a tremble in her voice.

Her hand twittered as she pressed down on the latch and opened her door. Hesitation filled her, but she took her bare foot and placed it on the woolly welcome mat. Then she placed her other foot beside it. It had been such a long time since she felt this rough scrub under her feet. Tears of triumph filled her eyes as she stared into the blue sky.

Sally felt God’s hand come out of heaven and touch her face. A soft whisper in the wind said, “Welcome back into the sunshine, My child. I have great plans for you.

I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. John 12:46 NASB
For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NASB

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This article has been read 1180 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sheri Gordon08/30/07
I really like your last line -- very powerful, and comforting. This is very good, descriptive writing. I was feeling her panic with each step she took. Nice job.
Pat Guy 08/30/07
Very realistic anxiety scene and emotions! And a welcome first step to recovery. This is top-notch writing that puts the reader right there experiencing every emotion.

I loved this - you tackled this subject very well and I think others will be able to draw from this.
Joanne Sher 08/30/07
Very powerful, with extremely vivid descriptions. I was right there with her. Gave me goosebumps.
Jan Ackerson 08/30/07
So many little details in here that make this piece just rich with emotion...her teeth on her lip, caressing the Bible, her "twittering" hand (I love that one!)...this is a masterpiece of "showing, not telling". Absolutely wonderful.
Shari Armstrong 08/30/07
I could feel her panic, and I loved the fact that she went out barefoot -even more open to getting past it all.
Rita Garcia08/30/07
WOW! Emotions litterly jumped off the page. Great writing, you certainly nailed the topic!! BTW I love it, a lot!
Allison Egley 08/31/07
This was really, really good. I must admit, after a week of training, I thought of this in terms of my new job, and started wondering if she would qualify for disability. ;) You really captured her fear well, and the triumph she felt when she finally opened that door. Great job.
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/03/07
This well-written story with its excellent descriptions takes the reader straight into the mind of a person afriad to leave the comfort of home.
Dolores Stohler09/03/07
Would have liked to know what brought Sally to this state of fear but understand that word count is limited. You did a great job of describing her fear and showing that prayer and faith in God were the tools to bring her out of it. Your Bible verse was well chosen. Wonderful story!
Kristen Hester09/03/07
Excellent writing. I could picture her in her dark room, sitting in the chair with her Bible. I was there. I felt her panic and her desire to be healed. You really did an excellent job. I did feel the "healing' was sudden after what seemed like a long battle, but I guess that's what makes it a miracle. AWESOME!
Jacquelyn Horne09/03/07
What a wonderful capturing of such a deep problem. I liked the way you brought it to light. Good job.
Dee Yoder 09/03/07
Great writing. So descriptive and realistic! You nailed the anxiety and regret of the person suffering from this disorder.
Brenda Welc09/04/07
This was awesome! It even confirmed a verse for me: For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Third times the charm right? You also brought back a song Step into the Sunshine--Get out of the rain! It's all I can remember but I sang it in JR. choir when I was like 12! Great writing here. You have a flow to your writing that just seems almost too good to be true. Keep on writing--you are blessed.

Sharlyn Guthrie09/04/07
Well done. Your last paragraph is especially powerful and encouraging.
Myrna Noyes09/05/07
Excellent, realistic portrayal of the bondage many people are in due to anxiety, agoraphobia, and similar conditions. Your descriptive words painted pictures in my mind, and the ending was so joyous! Great story! :)
Gregory Kane09/11/07
Good description of a woman’s return from bondage. Would have been interesting to know how long she had been in this state – so as to make the eventual breakthrough all the more remarkable.
Jan Ackerson 08/24/08
Rhonda, I'm going to feature this wonderful story in the Front Page showcase for the week of September 15. Look for it on the FW Home Page, and congratulations!
Janice Cartwright09/15/08
A joyful confirmation that God truly was listening to my prayers of only a few moments ago.
Marijo Phelps09/15/08
Praise God He sets us free - not just once but as often as necessary - I could feel her emotions - you did well drawing the reader in!
Patricia Turner09/18/08
Awesome. I lived every moment with this MC and felt her peace and joy as she was liberated. A great piece of writing for sure! Glad it got highlighted on the home page for all to see! Thank you for writing it.
Beth LaBuff 09/19/08
I loved your images in this encouraging story. I'm glad to see it on the FW Frontpage Showcase. Congrats!
Christina Price09/20/08
This story reminds me of so many persons that live in fear, I have a daughter living with me,right now!
She leavs in cosent fear, she has terminal cancer,she sits on her wheel chair all night and day,until she gets tired.
The only companion she fills comfort with is her television,going on 24-7.
And her computer,she loves to chit-chat,and she is a born again christian,..but fallen out of God's grace,by living in her own world.
she doesnot like to leave her comfort zone.God loves her and so do I'I pray for deliverance daily.
This story remind me of my dauhter...God be with them.
We have to put our trust in God daily,one day at a time.
Filoiann Wiedenhoff09/20/08
I enjoyed reading this article, your descriptions were so detailed. It painted a picture for me so easily. You are an amazing writer.