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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: Timely Tentacles
By Pam Richards


She was not sure exactly when it started… perhaps with the nightmares or maybe with the increasingly frequent spells of crying… but Marissa realized she needed help. What began as the most exciting and beautiful time in her life was succumbing to an unseen enemy—a foreboding gloom that was slowly but surely enveloping her mind and spirit like a fog with tentacles. But where could she turn? Everything in her life had changed in the last year: a new apartment in a new city for her husband’s new job, her new job, and a new baby—a little girl named Jillian.

Although she would have told you she was a Christian, she sensed that the root of her problem was spiritual. She wanted to make sure any help came from people of faith. She looked in her employee manual, found the information about the counseling center, and was relieved the two therapists were also ordained ministers.

She had become so desperate she was unable to work or drive, so her husband Derek accompanied her to the appointment. She initially put up a good front while talking with the counselor before erupting into a flood of tears. At the end of their session, he asked her to make a contract with herself that she would not do anything, accidentally or on purpose, to harm herself. She was a little surprised at this, although she had already briefly entertained and dismissed thoughts of suicide. Nevertheless, she made the contract.

Afterwards, the assistant talked with Derek about going somewhere for Marissa to rest. Derek quickly agreed they could go to the mountains for a few days. This must be difficult for Derek to understand, yet, he was treating her tenderly. Marissa found her husband’s compassion deeply moving. She had so much for which to be thankful. Why was this happening?

A rest in the mountains and an excursion to visit her mother were not as helpful as Marissa had hoped. She could not change the past and felt ill equipped to meet the responsibilities of wife and mother. Sorrow consumed her, as if mourning her own death. She knew she was guilty to the core of her being. She knew she did not deserve anyone’s love. In the depths of her darkness, voices taunted that she was doomed. Trying to muster up some hope, she meekly asked the lying demons, “But what about Jesus?” Undeterred, they responded in unison, “We crucified him. He is dead. You are alone.” She had no rebuttal.

At the next meeting with the counselor, Marissa continued to cry as she talked about the crushing weight of guilt and fear and hopelessness. Finally, the gentle man spoke. “Marissa, your sin is very heavy, and you are attempting to carry it by yourself. You are here because you are crumbling under the weight of this unbearable burden.” She could not believe her ears. What he said was true; but what was the answer? Knowing who Jesus was had not helped her. She pictured God as a giant judge wearing a black robe condemning her to a much-deserved sentence in Hell.

Her mentor continued, “Yes, Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried, but He is no longer in the grave! He rose and conquered sin and death. He is alive and wants you to abide in Him. He died for your sin and mine, and He is ready to accept your confession and lift your burden. You have lived your life knowing about Jesus, but not abiding in Him.”

The counselor led Marissa on a journey through scripture. The enemy tentacles receded a little more with the reading of each new verse. Marissa continued to cry, but Light was dispelling the darkness. Eventually tears of despair became tears of repentance; tears of repentance became tears of thanks; tears of thanks became tears of joy.

Marissa abides in the abundant life of Christ now. She is thankful for the emotional support of her husband when she needed him most, she is grateful for the depression that led to her salvation, and she rejoices that God gives her opportunities to comfort others.

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10 NIV

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Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 03/07/08
A good story of hope. I'm sure many people will be encouraged by this piece.
Shirley McClay 03/07/08
Wonderful testimony. I love this sentence..."Eventually tears of despair became tears of repentance; tears of repentance became tears of thanks; tears of thanks became tears of joy."

Verna Cole Mitchell 03/08/08
You have presented a wonderful spiritual jouney from depression, while at the same time making clear the plan of salvation. May God bless this piece to many.