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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)

TITLE: Warm Heart, Cold Water!
By Jacquelyn Horne


Sandi stooped down to retie her skates. The weather was cold, but the heavy leotards, plaid wool skirt and knitted toboggan she was wearing kept her warm enough. Skating was good today. Not too many skaters came out on Friday. The vigorous exercise kept the blood flowing in her body, creating warmth almost to the point of sweating.

The sun was in full bloom, and just a spattering of clouds floated in the sky. Silver Lake was wearing a thick coat of ice. Snow was covering the banks, and the nearby roads were sloshy from the constant traffic. People were hurrying, Sandi guessed, to the mall to do their annual Christmas shopping. Sandi had no one to shop for.

“What a mess I’ve made of my life!”

Twenty years ago, on this very spot, Sandi had made a commitment to God. Now, three marriages and several live-in relationships later, she was alone. Her two children, the loves of her life, were in foster care and no one would tell her where they were. Her life was in shambles She had tried to “get her act together”, but another guy, another drink had always won out.

“I’m a self-made loser with no one to blame but myself.”

As she looked out over the lake, Sandi remembered how happy she had been in her early teens. She had committed herself to God. She had vowed to live for him forever. What happened? Reminiscing brought her thoughts again to Silver Lake. She had been baptized here, in this very lake. She began a trek on memory lane…

Silver Lake looked serene and calm as a teenaged Sandi’s eyes skimmed over its glossy surface, but that was deception. With the temperature below zero, heavy ice covered the water almost to the center of the lake. It sparkled in the afternoon sunshine, but did nothing to lift her spirits, because she knew she would soon have to step into that icy body of water to wash her sins away. She almost reneged, but she wanted everything the Lord had for her, including baptism. So she swallowed hard and waited her turn.

She shivered as Pastor Bass broke the ice in a half-moon pattern. Then, he and his associate pushed the floating section of frozen water down and slid it under the solid floor of the remaining ice covering the lake. Faithful saints, gathered to watch the baptism, began to sing… “Shall we gather at the river…”

She watched as others made their way into the frigid waters and were dunked in the lovely name of Jesus. Their family and friends cheered and praised God with them. They came out of the water worshiping an awesome God.

Then it was her turn, but there was no family to cheer her on. She was on her own. Her commitment, however, was just as great as theirs. She loved God and gladly obeyed his word. After the dunking, she felt a cleanness she had never felt before. It was easy to believe that this would last forever…

It didn’t last, however. Life happened instead. Troubles begat troubles. Sin begat sin, and Sandi wandered into the pathway of transgression, bringing heartache and difficulty into her every waking moments.

Tears began to flow as Sandi coveted that wonderful feeling she once felt. That warm (in spite of the cold water), calm presence of a forgiving God, who had so gladly received her into his kingdom. Could she find that place again? Could he help her get her life back on track? Had she traveled too far into the world of sin to seek forgiveness?

“Oh, God, please hear my cry! Help me find that place in you I once had. Forgive me of my faults and failures, and let me once again feel your holy presence. Guide me and help me reorganize my life. Give me back my children, and I will raise them to serve you.”

Sandi felt the warm Spirit of God flood into her heart, and with it, came the peace that she had so long been missing.

Exhilarated, Sandi glided across the shimmering ice with hands raised to God. Her fellow skaters watched as she completed a perfect figure eight--all the while, giving thanks to the Savior.

She beamed as she skated past the others. “All is right with the world!”

Sandi realized that the hand of God has always been with her. She just needed to take hold of it.


“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” I John 2:1 KJV

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/25/07
I like this! You've made the baptism the climax, and written all of the falling action and a wonderful resolution. Cool way to structure a story.
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/28/07
Your story is excellent, and your last line is perfect.
Paula Titus 10/30/07
I love the honesty of this piece, and I like the way you bring God's mercy and forgiveness to the forefront. Great story.
c clemons10/31/07
I like the line " I am a self-made loser" that was good. Good writing through out. I don't understand the freezing water though, that could really compromise a person's health.
Janice Cartwright11/07/07
I like this because of the positive difference it could make in the life of a reader: the hope you brought into this story. A person in the position of your MC, perhaps feeling themselves beyond hope, would be reminded of God's mercy and greatly encouraged.