Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)
TITLE: Sally Lynn
By Frank Parrino
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Everyone experiences in life the best of times and the worse of times. Such moments will occur regardless of the season of life one happens to be in. Winter, spring, summer, and fall all have their periods of sunshine, cloud, and stormy weather. Sally Lynn Reno found herself caught in a winter storm of life.
Sally sat at the computer in her bedroom, wearing a short blue denim coat lined with a thick layer of red flannel. Her gentle but cold hands could hardly feel the scissor as she struggled to cut the tips off an old pair of knitted gloves. “There, that’s perfect,” she whispered to Snuggles, her curious white cat. “Now, I can type without my fingers falling off.” How grateful she was to her new friend Professor Evans for providing her with extra work. The timing was truly a “God send.” The extra money earned would help Sally make up the deficit to pay the rent.
Sally lost her administrative position due to a merger. She was able to find temporary work but couldn’t afford to miss a day. Otherwise she would not be paid. If there ever was a monument to the expression, ‘working hard for so little’, Sally was the perfect paragon. Despite being highly qualified, jobs were hard to come by in a depressed job market.
Sally was frugal to the max. She skimped and saved in every way possible to make ends meet. With winter in full swing she kept the thermostat at 60 degrees. Little spare money and no health insurance would cause most people in her situation to despair of life. Her eyes were in need of a check up. The soles of her shoes were as thin as a piece of paper. Her car was leaking oil. She was divorced four years, alone, and wanted so much to love and be loved by a faithful Christian man. Many times she was ready to ‘throw in the towel’ but God’s grace was always sufficient.
Sally hung up the phone. The tears welled up in her tired eyes. She would spend another holiday alone. No one in her family was coming to her house, not even her own sons. Sally was the ‘black sheep’ in the family, shunned because she was a Christian.
It was eight o’clock, Christmas Eve. She dozed off in her favorite chair. Her faithful Bible and Snuggles lay quietly on the blanket that covered Sally’s legs. Is that singing? At first Sally thought she was dreaming. She made her way to the front door. The singing was more distinctive. She opened it slowly. There before her still dreamy eyes, were ten people. Two held old fashioned lanterns. The rest had tin foiled covered pots, pans, and large plates. They were singing her favorite Christmas Carol, Angles We Have Heard On High. She recognized a few of them under their cold weather garb. They were from the new church she attended the last two weeks.
One of the men was Professor Evans! Sally was at a loss for words. It was this kind hearted man whom she confided in about her struggles. This special Christian friend was a great consolation to Sally in the short time they became acquainted. Despite his hectic schedule as a Department Chairman, he called Sally every other day to see how she was. He entered wholeheartedly into her winter of heartache, struggle, and discouragement. He offered advice from rebuilding family relations to tips on resume writing. He pointed out her many good qualities and worked hard to rebuild her shaken self esteem. He would read her a portion from God’s Word. He used mostly the Psalms because they were a true ‘anatomy of the soul.’ He explained and applied them to her situations. The Professor didn’t hang up without pouring his heart out to the Lord on behalf of this dear sister.
“Sally, we’ve come to share Christmas Eve with you”, they said in unison. “Dear Lord Jesus, thank you. Come in! Please come in,” shouted a grateful Sally. That night was a foretaste of the gathering at the heavenly banquet. There was joy, good food, conversation, singing, and praising the Lord for his goodness. The financial gift, the two job interviews, and the opportunity to meet a nice Christian man uplifted her drooping spirits. Sally’s winter storm of life abated in the love of these caring and encouraging brethren.
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