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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)

TITLE: Sugar-Coated "Love-Ya"
By Jan Ross


Lord, I’ve got a problem. Well, actually more than one problem, but I’m having a hard time here. I’m sorry, but I can’t believe this! Me, of all people—the pastor’s wife, worship leader, women’s ministry president, and general do-it-all’er in the church. Does Little Miss Goody-Two-Shoes think she can just pop in and out of here, spread a little cheer, and think that’s it? Does she even for one minute think that maybe sometimes encouraging people requires more than a precious little sugar-coated “Love ya!”

Everyone thinks she’s all “that”! Even my husband—he appointed her as the leader of the new supposedly-dynamic “Encouraging Word” ministry. Doesn’t he understand how flaky she is? Just the thought of her squeaky voice makes me quiver.

Frankly, I don’t care if I ever see her again. She can go spread her good cheer elsewhere—what a joke! If she really was anointed to lead the supposedly-dynamic “Encouraging Word” ministry, she’d understand some people need more than just a “We’re prayin’ for ya!” Good grief!

God, You’ve got to do something. The people…no, me—I need a word from You, something I can cling to, a sign that You’re listening and You’ve not turned away from me when I’m down or struggling.

I’m sorry, but I’m supposed to believe You chose that nut-case to offer encouragement to hurting people? I try my best to be everything to everyone, to fulfill my umpteen million roles in the church. But, can’t You do something about that woman?

You know, God, I could teach her a thing or two about an encouraging word ministry.

Finally! I’ve been waiting for you to realize I’ve have gifted you with the ability communicate my love. Will you finally sit still and listen?

Ok, so I’m listening. But, just so You know, I don’t need another job. I’m too busy as it is. You’ve just got to do something with Miss Encouraging Word Ministry.

Oh, I plan to do something with her, but My hands are tied as long as you won’t allow Me to use you.

What do you mean ME? I’m too busy now!

I’ve gifted you with words—with My Word—to encourage My people. But I’ve also given you the ability to teach others. Your friend needs you to teach her. Her heart is right; her desire to reach out and touch others is sincere—it comes from Me. But, she needs YOU to mentor her, to show her the right way. Will you?

Oh Lord, I don’t know if I can do that. What about my own heart? It’s so wretched when it comes to that woman. She just thinks …

You think she thinks, but it’s YOU I’m dealing with, it’s YOU who needs to listen and learn what My will is. She already has the desire and the zeal, but she needs YOU to teach her, first by example. Pick up the phone and call her—now.

She’s probably not even home yet. Besides, I’ve got to get ready for the meeting tonight. I’ll talk to her tomorrow.

Pick up the phone and call her now.

I’ve got to get busy here…

Pick up the phone and call her now.

Okay, but…

Ask her forgiveness for your attitude and use the gifts I’ve given you.

I’m sorry. I know my heart has been so wrong toward her. You’re going to have to help me—I need Your help.


“Hi, Caroline, this is Esther. Do you have a few minutes?”

“Oh, Esther! I’m so glad to hear from you. How ya doin’? God is so good, isn’t He?. We’re prayin’ for ya!”

“Thanks so much. Listen, God and I have been doing some talking and I realize I’ve not had the best attitude lately. I need your forgiveness. I’ve been short with you and unreceptive toward you. Please forgive me.”

“What? I never noticed. Of course, you’re forgiven.”

“About this new ministry, I think I have some ideas that might help you become even more effective. This is such a needed outreach in our church. Would you be available to get together so we can talk more about it?”

“Oh, wow! This is exactly what I’ve been praying for. Thank You, Jesus! The sooner the better; I’m free tomorrow morning—your place or mine?”

“Tomorrow it is—see you here at 9:30.”

“Awesome! Love ya!”


Thank you, Lord, that was good. But, can you please do something about her squeaky voice?

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This article has been read 1283 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sheri Gordon11/15/07
Ouch -- this is very convicting. Loved the voices. Excellent job describing the distinct personalities of the two women. Nice job with the topic.
Joanne Sher 11/15/07
You did a great job with characterization especially, and with the conversation between your MC and God. Very convicting message.
william price11/15/07
Very smooth, great pace. The MC is very believable. Nice ending. God bless.
Peter Stone11/17/07
An article that really challenges our own attitudes towards others, well done. I also like the fact that I could not predict in which direction the story was going to go. The conclusion was very satisfying too.
Beth LaBuff 11/19/07
This is so perfect for those of us who "call the kettle black". Your writing is great! I'm going to add a sugar-coated "Love It". :)
Deborah Engle 11/19/07
It's not an easy thing to admit that other's motives may be pure, when we've already decided they are false. You showed the struggle well.
Jan Ackerson 11/19/07
Oh, I'm just like her, when it comes to people with annoying voices...thanks for showing me an attitude I need to set aside!

Very good writing--I love the gentle way the Spirit talks to her with such love.
Patty Wysong11/19/07
I loved your voice in this! It's REAL. Makes me wonder how many blessings I miss out on because I don't obey...The humor you threw in with the squeaky voice is just right. Super!! Hugs!
Joy Faire Stewart11/20/07
Love the MC's voice and the message in the piece is fabulous. Plus, the last line is perfect! Great entry on topic.
Dee Yoder 11/21/07
Boy, God has way of putting us together with just the "wrong" kind of people, doesn't He? He's knows us inside and out, though, so I guess we can concede He can do the job better than we can. Love your story and the characters. It's written with honesty and humor.
Laury Hubrich 11/22/07
Congratulations on your 3rd place EC! It is well-deserved. This piece is painfully real. I'm sure we've all had conversations with ourselves and with God exactly like this one:) Great job! Happy Thanksgiving!
Sharlyn Guthrie11/22/07
Congratulations, Jan! I love it -especially the last line! Your placements are well-deserved.
Karen Wilber11/23/07
This really cracked me up. I can just hear her squeaky voice. Hang in there, Esther. ;-D
LauraLee Shaw11/24/07
I love the authenticity and gut honesty in this piece. God used you to show others how to deal with the people that annoy us in the body of Christ. Your acknowledgment is well deserved! :)