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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)

TITLE: Not Alone
By Kristen Hester


Danielle closed and locked the bathroom door before she let the tears fall. She sat on the ledge of the bathtub and sobbed. Lord, I donít think I can take it anymore. Danielle knew her son needed her and was waiting in the other room; so after her emotional release, she wiped her face with her shirt sleeve. Then she took a deep breath, left her hiding place, and joined Mason.

"Okay, buddy, letís finish this work," She said as she riffled through his pages of school work. Her son lay on the floor, tired and drained from the day. Danielle knew to take advantage of this calm moment, because at any time his frustrations could erupt into an emotional meltdown.

"Letís go over these spelling words." For the next hour she called out words while he wrote in hardly legible letters on a small dry erase board. It pained Danielle to watch him suffer. He struggled socially, emotionally and academically. Unlike his two sisters, nothing was easy for Mason. Why, God, is this so hard? Why are we going through this?

The next day Danielle got a phone call from her sonís teacher. "Danielle, I wanted to talk to you about Mason."

"Okay." Danielle leaned back on the coach, weary already. It wasnít her first phone call from the teacher.

"Heís been picking his nose and then he rubs, um, it, on his neighborís desk." Danielle was tired. Tired of dealing with a new problem each day. Tired of teachers pretending to be sympathetic when she felt their judgment. She took a deep breath and talked with the teacher about solutions. She promised she would speak to Mason, and they decided he would clean the desks after school.

After the phone call, Danielle got down on her knees and cried out to God. Thirty minutes later she rose, refreshed yet still drained, hopeful but still desperate.

Danielle and her husband had taken Mason to numerous doctors, specialists and therapists. First theyíd tackled ADHD. Next it was Dyslexia. The latest challenge had to do with his slow processing. Mason, though extremely bright and gifted in certain areas, took too long to finish his school work. It seemed the battles never ended.

"Iím sick of dealing with this," she confided to her best friend on the phone. "I just canít believe Iím the one with the weird kid who picks his nose in class and doesnít have many friends. How did this happen?"

"Youíre just used to having the picture perfect life. God is going to use this for His glory."

"But itís not fun!"

"I know, sweetie. Iím praying for you everyday."

"I appreciate it." As Danielle poured her heart out to her friend, she wondered what others did who didnít have the same resources and support she had.

Later that day as Danielle sat on the park bench and watched her kids play, she noticed a mother struggling with her child. The young boy was spinning on the ground in a full-fledged temper tantrum. Danielle felt for the mother. When she had only her two mild-mannered daughters, she might have been judgmental, but not anymore. After all she been through with her own son, she felt only compassion.

When the mother had the situation under control and sat down, Danielle slowly made her way over to her. "Iím sorry you had to see that," the lady said apologetically.

Danielle offered a warm smile. "Oh, donít apologize. Been there, done that!"

"Really?" The lady seemed relieved and eager to talk to someone who understood.

Danielle joined her on the bench. "Iím Danielle. Parenting is the hardest thing Iíve ever done."

"Thatís for sure. Iím Chrissy." The two shook hands, and an instant bond was formed. They talked and shared for the next hour.

"You seem to be handling things much better them me," Chrissy confessed.

"Oh, I have my weak moments for sure. If it werenít for my faith in Jesus Christ and the support I get from my friends at church, I donít know what Iíd do."

Chrissy was silent for a moment. "That must be nice to have faith in something. Iíve never really understood spiritual things."

Danielle used this opening to explain her relationship with Christ to Chrissy. By the time they parted ways Danielle had gotten Chrissyís phone number and invited her to church. She prayed as she drove away. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to use my struggles for Your good.

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This article has been read 883 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw03/06/08
All throughout this difficult time in a mother's life is silver shining throughout. From her time in prayer, to friends reminding her of the truth, through her new empathy for others to being able to share her testimony for God's glory, this one stands out as an example for the topic. I could feel the mother's desperation but also see her faith. It ministered to me.
Patty Wysong03/06/08
Boy-oh-boy, is Danielle right! Parenting is the hardest thing I've ever done, too. This is a great story that will reach many of us moms with kids still at home!!
Arlene Showalter03/08/08
wow...great story. Lots of people will relate to this one!
Catrina Bradley 03/11/08
Oh, yes! The ultimate silver lining behind a very dark cloud: leading someone to Christ. Great job with the topic, and the writing is first class.
Seema Bagai 03/11/08
Great job describing the mother's struggles. I believe God often allows us to go through trials so we can encourage others.

One tiny typo: You put coach not couch.

Thanks for sharing this story.
Debbie Wistrom03/11/08
Praise God! This does provide hope. I "hope" many people get a chance to read this. Great job. I could feel her desperation.
Jan Ackerson 03/11/08
Very good story--I could really feel this poor mom's weariness.

I felt that the last paragraph lost some steam--sort of rushed to summarize.

The character of the mom is extremely sympathetic, and the story is a great, compelling read.
Sharlyn Guthrie03/11/08
This story brings to mind II Corinthians 1:3-4 "comforting others with the comfor with which we are comforted." Perfect for the topic.
Karen Wilber03/11/08
This really sums it up--"When she had only her two mild-mannered daughters, she might have been judgmental, but not anymore. After all she been through with her own son, she felt only compassion."

Good story for the topic. Authentic ring to it. What silver lining could be better?
Betty Castleberry03/11/08
Opportunities are all around, and your MC didn't miss hers. I'm glad she witnessed.
This is very well written. Thumbs up.
Henry Clemmons03/11/08
I see I am Not Alone in liking this. An all around good read. Thanks for sharing your talent.
Laury Hubrich 03/11/08
Kristen, very good story. Real, so real to so many mothers. -- Laury
Joshua Janoski03/11/08
As the brother of a mentally challenged sister with behavior problems, this story really reminded me of my own mother's struggle. I watched as she toiled for years trying to raise my sister (and two other kids at the same time). God has used the difficult times to strengthen all of us as a family, and I am amazed at how strong of a woman my mom is.

Thank you for blessing me with this wonderful story.
Chely Roach03/12/08
What a realistic perspective of motherhood, with an awesome silver lining. Great job.
Lyn Churchyard03/12/08
Great story. I feel for mothers whose child has problems whether known or not diagnosed. I am so grateful that my three children were "normal" for want of a better word. Your MC will certainly be a blessing to her new friend. Well done Kristen.
Mandy White03/12/08
Great story! This is a wonderful reminder that all things work together for the Glory of God. Thanks.
Marita Vandertogt03/12/08
The mother's tiredness really comes through. Your story flows nicely and helps someone who doesn't have those problems, understand a little more. Great ending - which is what it's all about anyway...sharing the hope we have in Him. Excellent writing by the way.
Sara Harricharan 03/12/08
Awww, a heart-warming piece. That's for sure! I'm glad that they found each other and could offer some encouragement and support. The ending was really nice and I liked the names-good job. Especially with the realistic (and gross-lol) part with picking his nose...good job. ^_^
Sherry Castelluccio 03/12/08
Great job, as always. There's something so real and pure about your writing. Whether you've lived through it or not, you make it so believable and down to earth. Your ending was awesome- I hope Chrissy finds Jesus!
Joanne Sher 03/12/08
I could SO relate to this frustration, and I am CERTAIN there is someone out there who DEFINITELY needed this message. Thank you for being faithful to share it.
You just have a gift for characterization and helping us relate to your characters. Enjoyed this.
Yvonne Blake 03/12/08
I think many of our hard times are so that we can say, "Been there, done that", and be able to reach out to someone else for the Lord.
Sheri Gordon03/12/08
Kristen, you do an excellent job with this subject matter. Great empathy for the MC, and always hope at the end. Very good writing.