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

TITLE: Playground Confession
By Kristen Hester


I ran up over the curb as I pulled my car into the playground parking lot on Friday afternoon. The momentum of the car hitting the curb caused all my kidsí heads to jerk forward simultaneously, but they werenít fazed. It was just another day in the mini van with mom. Before we were completely stopped my older kids had hopped out and were running to join their friends on the swings. This was our Friday ritual. After a week of strenuous school work, we met friends and played for a couple of hours.

As I watched them run, I sat in my car for a moment to ponder my bleak situation. For years I had kept a deep, dark secret bottled up inside; but today, I was going to reveal it to my friends. I was fearful of what they would think about me after my confession. However, I was tired of living a charade.

I slid open the mini van door and kneeled on the floor to unstrap my baby. Something red and wet, most likely spilled fruit punch, saturated my khaki capris. I slung the unzipped diaper bag over my shoulder and lifted my baby out of his car seat. I headed to the picnic table where my friends sat, leaving a trail of diapers behind me.

"Hey, girl," Cindy called as she sipped her Route 44 Sonic Dr. Pepper. She was an addict and depending on which day you talked to her she may or may not be trying to "kick" the habit.

Beth waved a hand at me while she finished up a conversation on her fancy new cell phone. I would have to admire her phone in a minute, because I was currently in the market for a new one. I ran over mine with the car last week. It would be the third I had destroyed in as many months.

Beth ended the call and began typing something into her phone. "Sorry, I was confirming my Tuesday hair appointment." Beth is very organized. Beth and Cindy began chatting as normal, discussing marriage, money, diets and recipes. They finally noticed I wasnít my usual, chatty self.

"Youíre quiet today. Whatís wrong?" I knew it was time to come clean, but I feared what I was about to share would jeopardize our friendship.

I shifted uncomfortably and realized I had sat in bubble gum. I grabbed a baby wipe and started rubbing the spot on the seat of my pants as I began my deep confession. "Iím a mess," I finally stated with a deep sigh.

Beth and Cindy exchanged a confused glance. "We know," Cindy said hesitantly.

"What do you mean Ďyou knowí?" I asked, shocked at their lack of surprise.

"We know youíre a mess," Beth answered.

"Iím not making a joke here. I may appear to have it all together, but the truth is Iím a domestic disaster. My floors are sticky. I donít know how to cook. This morning, I actually stapled my daughterís unraveled hem with a stapler as she walked out the door for school."

Cindy suppressed a grin. "You didnít?" she said in mock shock. "Beth, can you believe she did that? Should we move to another table? Can we be seen with her?"

"Iím not kidding, guys. Iím a failure."

After a brief pause, Cindy spoke first. This time she was serious. "Your house is probably a mess because you spend so much time calling and encouraging people at church, especially the young moms. Youíve never met a stranger."

It was Bethís turn. "Or you were writing. Neither one of us could write a story."

"My house is clean, but I donít make friends easily," Cindy said, frowning into her empty Sonic cup.

"And I may be more organized, but I donít have a creative bone in my body."

"Your gifts are in other areas, but we love you the same -- messy house and all." We spent the next two hours discussing our individual weaknesses and strengths.

As I drove away from the park, with my windows down to air out the musty smell, I felt better about myself than I had in years. My friends knew my weaknesses and liked me anyway. They also reminded me that God had given me unique gifts that I needed to use for Him. As soon as I got home, I was going to write all this down in a story....if I could find my laptop.

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This article has been read 991 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 11/15/07
Love it! How great it is to have friends who love us just the way we are, and you recognize our value in spite of the "messes."
Seema Bagai 11/15/07
Great story about how we perceive ourselves and others.

Looks like you found the laptop. ;)

william price11/15/07
Domestic disaster!!! Loved it. Great pace and reader interest. Overall, Superb! God bless.
Joanne Sher 11/16/07
These women are SO real - excellent characterization. A perfect story for this topic.
LauraLee Shaw11/17/07
I love this story, and I let out a chuckle at the last line. Great job!
william price11/18/07
I thought maybe you wrote this. You have an anointed, unique voice and an honest, crisp presentation when you write. Great job once again. God bless.
Beth LaBuff 11/19/07
You had me wondering about this confession. :) Fun story! Great work on this!
Jan Ackerson 11/19/07
Oh, I knew there was a reason I always love your writing--we're secret sisters! I'm a mess, too--always have been, always will be (guess what? it doesn't get any better when your kids are grown and gone...) Thanks for this endearing and encouraging story.
Deborah Engle 11/19/07
This is a womnderful story we can all relate to. Well done!
Patty Wysong11/19/07
LoL! Wouldn't it be nice if we could pick our strengths and weaknesses? Being a mess isn't so bad...is it? :-)
Great job! You made these women real with the descriptions you gave. Hugs!
Pam Carlson-Hetland11/19/07
Oh, praise the Lord for those encouraging sisters (and brothers) in Christ. I can see this story is written from the heart. And you've captured the essence in the all the details for those of us who deal with the same "domestic disasters" -- great line, by the way. This is a thoroughly enjoyable and encouraging piece. Great job.
Laury Hubrich 11/19/07
Wow, I love your MC! Great job, as always.
Dee Yoder 11/21/07
Hee-hee. It's funny how we think we're hiding our true selves from people, and they know anyway! Good story, and good characters. You always make me smile.
Sara Harricharan 11/21/07
My only word for this story is "Sweet". What a neat circle of friendship. I loved the last line best of all though. Great job!
Loren T. Lowery11/21/07
Proof positive why confession is good for the soul. I enjoyed this and could certainly identify with what was being said. Great job showing the interaction among the friends.
Betty Castleberry11/21/07
This is so cute. I love the casual voice, and I can really relate to the Dr Pepper addict. I'm one, too. Nicely done.
LaNaye Perkins11/21/07
I love the MC in the story and how she was so honest about her weaknesses. Very touching story!
Peter Stone11/21/07
Wonderful example of Christian encouragement in operation. And very realistic. So many that encourage others are discouraged by their own faults. This article 'encourages' them to look beyond that.
Janice Cartwright11/27/07
Kristin I sure thought I had commented on this one but I see I didn't. I really loved it and I'm sure I must have been distracted by something just as I was about to poke the REVIEW/CRITIQUE ARTICLE!box. See, I'm a mess too. Boy is it great to have such talented company in my misery!