Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)
TITLE: I Have Called You by Your Name
By Kimberly Michalski
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The selections on the old tin pantry shelves dwindled to almost nothing. Pent up angst and fear overwhelmed me. The worry of providing for my family plagued my thoughts every day. The forecast looked grim and I felt trapped with little hope of deliverance.
We experienced a financial crisis a year prior. An uncle offered his abandoned house in the country as a temporary dwelling for my family. On inspection of the house, sunlight seeped through cracks in the interior walls where tar paper had fallen off the exterior of the house. Several windows were broken. The living room furnace inadequately heated the house. My daughter fell through rotted bathroom floorboards. The wall opening missing patio doors in the trash littered dirt-floor basement invited animals of all sorts, including rats. Old car engines, railroad ties, junk, blocks, and trash encased the property. Snakes nested in the waist-high grass, weeds and briers.
We moved in, grateful for a roof, but my husband left for a hurricane disaster area hundreds of miles away at the invitation of a tree removal company. He promised to send money as soon as he received compensation. I scoured and cleaned for weeks. I tackled tasks with anticipation and vigor because every feat accomplished, made a noticeable improvement, which also fed my optimism. A few dollars stretched and kept the children fed. Weeks passed and no money arrived. The day the pantry emptied, my faith emptied with it. A crippling fear hit me like a punch in the gut. I fell to my knees, buried my face in my hands and wept to exhaustion.
“Oh, Lord, do see me? I feel alone and abandoned. I can be content in a shack nestled around a trash heap. I can survive without a vehicle. But, my children need food and I need assistance with repairs on this house. You promised never to forsake me. Where are you? Do you even know my name?” I cried.
I dropped into bed late in the evening emotionally spent from worry and fear. The bedroom lights burned out days before. With no replacements, I lit a tall taper and fixed it into a short shot glass on the vanity amidst a pile of clothes and papers. I embraced my toddler and planned to read from my Bible. Instead, I fell asleep.
I don’t know how long I slept, but I awoke when I heard my name, “Kimberly.”
The voice was comparable to none I heard before, yet I knew the Speaker. Trembling, I rolled over and saw the burning candle- leaning.
“Thank you, Lord, You do know my name,” I whispered and clasped my shaking hands to my breast cognizant of the miracle, which had taken place.
Morning broke with brighter intensity than it had in months. When I checked the mailbox later and saw a letter, my spirit soared. I tore the envelope open and found the aid I prayed for.
The following day, some dear friends rolled into town to visit me. They purchased supplies to make necessary home repairs. They helped me remove junk from the property and mow down the weeds and grass. Before they left town, they filled my pantry shelves.
Several days later, when I reached for my Bible to read, I felt a distinct impression to explore Isaiah 43. As a newer Christian, I didn’t know the Bible very well, but I opened to the passage. It read, “Fear not: For I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you.”
Sometimes the hardest lesson is waiting on the still, soft Voice.
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