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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Home Group (11/29/07)

TITLE: Her Weak, Mortal Self
By Laurie Walker


“Mama?” The sound of her daughter’s voice at that moment made her flinch. Robert came back in just then and caught his daughter up in a towel.

“Time to get ready for bed, Munchkin. Grandma’s gonna be here soon.”

His announcement drew squeals of childish delight from their children. How was it he could come home from working all day long and manage to create order out of chaos in less than ten minutes? She grabbed a clean towel and began to mop up the mess her children had made on the bathroom floor.

“Leave it,” her husband said. Still she worked away, unable to leave any job undone. A large, gentle hand covered her own. “Leave it,” he repeated.

Only his quiet presence could have pulled her away. The doorbell rang and Robert’s mother entered. One look and she had Candace wrapped in a tight hug. “Go to your prayer meeting, Candy. It’ll help.”

Candace shuddered at the idea. Prayer meeting. Sure she snapped at the kids more than usual lately, but it didn’t mean she needed to be forcibly removed for an evening of pretending that prayer really helped.

Robert kissed the kids goodnight. Candace knew she should do the same, but the thought of being manhandled by tiny hands didn’t hold any attractions right then.

Maybe leaving wasn’t such a bad idea.

In no time they reached their destination and found themselves safely tucked into a sofa, the staccato chatter of fellow church members grinding on Candace’s last nerve. She was grateful when Sister Jones stood to direct the meeting. It was far easier to tune out just one voice.

She tried to think of something relaxing. Instead her mind insisted on reliving every awful part of her day. Over and over the events replayed, until the torturous truth hit.

Today she had been a bad mother.

In every instance she chose the wrong path of action. Instead of words of understanding she had yelled. Instead of soothing away tears she locked herself in the bathroom. Every time something bad happened she’d let her weak, mortal self take over.

Perhaps the most appalling part was the sight of her daughter’s face, her sweet voice calling out, “Mama.” Candace had shuddered. That’s not what a mom is supposed to do.

Her body sagged under the guilt. Lord, what have I done? At that point the teacher’s words penetrated her shame soaked thoughts.

“I often think of what Mary and Joseph must have gone through as they raised the Son of God. Do you suppose He was perfect even as a child? The pressure to bring Him up in righteousness, to teach Him even as a young child to choose His Father’s way must have been overwhelming at times. Did they ever lose their patience? I’m certain Mary must have felt so inadequate. Perhaps she even felt like a bad mother at times.”

Candace could hardly believe her ears as Sister Jones continued.

“It is so easy to forget we are all children of God. The Father understands our weaknesses, and is always willing to forgive if we repent. Fortunately He’s also blessed us with children who are just as willing to forgive. I’m certain Jesus forgave his mother and Joseph when they fell short of perfection.”

Sister Jones asked Robert to give the closing prayer. As he stood Candace wondered if Kayla really could forgive her. Could she even forgive herself?

“Bless every one of us, Father, to understand that while Jesus was perfect, we are still striving to become so. We know we will make mistakes. It is the human part of us. Let us also know we can make a change with Thy help.”

With His help. Candace had lost track of bringing God into the equation. Her discouragement lifted just enough to allow hope.

Later that night she crept into her daughter’s room, caressing the tiny face.

“Mama,” said Kayla, opening sleepy eyes.

“Hey baby.”

“Sorry I got the floor so wet.”

Candace’s heart hurt. Kayla must have been worrying about it all evening. “Sweetie, I need to say sorry. I shouldn’t have gotten so mad. Can you forgive me?”

“’Course, Mama. It was just a bad day. Tomorrow’ll be better.”

Candace kissed her child, tucked her back in, and crept into bed. As she kissed her husband goodnight she whispered, “I’d like to go back to Prayer Meeting next week.”

Robert kissed her back. “Good.”

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This article has been read 795 times
Member Comments
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Jan Ackerson 12/07/07
You really showed us Candace's heart--this was very well-written and touching.

I'd have liked to see her name mentioned in the first paragraph; I was thrown a bit by the feminine pronoun in one sentence, followed by "Robert" in the next.

I really like your title, and well, everything about this great story!
Dee Yoder 12/07/07
Well written and described. Many can relate to this story and the frustrations and guilt the MC carried. I like everything about this!
Joanne Sher 12/08/07
This SO ministered to me. (what were you doing in my head, by the way?) No matter how this does (and I hope it does well!) know for a fact that it was absolutely a Godsend for this reader. I needed to hear this more than you can imagine. Thank you.
Beth LaBuff 12/09/07
This is a beautiful story of hope for when we have "one of those days". Nice work!
Sheri Gordon12/10/07
Very good story. This line is a tear jerker: “’Course, Mama. It was just a bad day. Tomorrow’ll be better.”

You did a good job of showing Candace's heart.
Temple Miller12/11/07
Lovely story. Isn't it great how God speaks to us thru other's voices? You've captured that in this story.
Lynda Schultz 12/11/07
It never hit me before reading this that Jesus probably had to forgive Mary and Joseph for being less than perfect parents — which would have been even harder for them since He WAS perfect. Great story.
Garnet Miller 12/11/07
I've been there and done that. What a great story. It's good that God is so forgiving.
Loren T. Lowery12/12/07
This story skillfully shows how Bible centered "cell" groups outside of church, with those of like "concerns" can find hope and healing. It is in the sharing that we find the next rung on the ladder that helps us to climb one step higher. Really liked the honesty expressed in this piece. Great job!
Holly Westefeld12/12/07
This story exemplifies so many things so well. Praise God for understanding and helpful husbands, those saints who allow parents of young children to get out together, and childlike trust that can so easily hope for a better day tomorrow. Aside from financial need, I do not believe that it is challenge that moms seek outside the home, but escape from it. It is the most challenging, and rewarding, job on Earth, and you pay it a mighty tribute in this story.
Pamela Kliewer12/12/07
What a well written piece. I believe you have exemplified every mother's struggle at one time or another. You also captured how often we will have that nudge of the Holy Spirit to 'tune in' at just the right moment to hear what we need to hear by one who is speaking to us in a group setting.