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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)

TITLE: Over the Top
By Sharon Laughter



I am so not in favor of any kind of pretense. Therefore, when my tween daughter thoughtfully decided to point out a particular one of my shortcomings, I didn’t even consider denying it.

"Mom, you always think the worst will happen."

"That’s correct,” I quipped. “There's two kind of people in the world. Some people see a glass of water half full, others see it half empty. I know that not only is the glass half empty, but the glass has got a leak and therefore a crack in it somewhere.”

Ralley dipped her head and shook it, causing her beautiful long brunette hair to sway, then tromped off.

Well, it was true. The non-ending trials I’d suffered probably would’ve even made my hero Job wince. Besides, his trials eventually ended. Mine seemed to only take a brief respite, then take right back up where they’d left off. Maybe it was because I was still alive, kicking and screaming, stubbornly trying to make lemonade out of the lemons, while life just continued to sour.

Being a missionary wasn’t a help, either. Some folks tend to think that danger and darkness just goes with the territory. Didn’t I know that in my position especially, God needed to “prune” me? And, of course, these were great opportunities to demonstrate joy in the face of trials. Didn’t I realize I was blessed in suffering to get some really great testimonies and teaching material I wouldn’t otherwise have? Eyebrows would raise if they knew the grades I really expected to get on those assignments.

On the other hand, my daughter was blessed with a naturally positive attitude. Ralley not only saw a glass as half full, but the rest of the water was there for a fact, just invisible. Amazingly, we made a good team and enjoyed countless hours of intercessory prayer together, fellowship and spiritual adventure. God had made good on that desire of my heart.

One morning, I exited my bedroom to find my now twenty-year old daughter sitting on the living room couch looking extremely puzzled. She lifted her eyes in that familiar way she did while looking to me for some kind of answer.

“I couldn’t sleep last night,” she announced. “I finally I got up at 2:30 a.m. and started reading my Bible and praying. I don’t know what it meant, but all of a sudden I saw in my mind so clearly, a heart packed with thorns.! All I knew to do was pray that God would put Neosporin on the heart.”

“Oh, my.” I responded, my mouth gaping open. I could hardly believe it, but at that same exact time I was on the other side of the wall in my bedroom, praying too. A person entered my mind that we had prayed about for years, along with a feeling to pray that God would pack the person’s heart with thorns of conviction! There were times in the darkness that God showed himself as if to say, “I’m closer than you think.”

When Ralley was twenty-one, we found ourselves racing to the hospital at 5:00 a.m., one morning as she writhed in pain. She had been informed the day before that the baby she carried inside of her was dead. An hour earlier, I had been diagnosed with walking pneumonia. Our large apartment was suddenly rescheduled for pest control the next day, requiring everything to be removed from the cupboards. Finally, the day of horrors came to a close that evening with a phone call from one of the ladies at church who wanted to deliver a shocking and scathing critique on my latest Bible Study and therefore character.

Several months later, I found myself at the hospital once again. This time, I loomed over my daughter’s hospital bed, while watching a tiny bundle wriggle furiously in her arms. Ralley shifted her arm and gently pulled back the powder pink blanket like she was pulling cotton from a small jewelry box in order to display a sparkling precious diamond underneath. Wrigglet pumped fists into the air as her mother smiled on.

"Wull, Mom? Ralley asked, beaming large. “What do you think about your new granddaughter?"

"Actually,” I choked. "My cup runneth over."

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 06/12/09
What a contrast in family members! It sounds like these two were good for each other. I enjoyed this.
chale wesson06/12/09
im crying. thank you. ive had the most wonderful times praying with you. the best times of my life is when we were on the floor at 2 and 3 AM praying. your not only my mom your my best friend. thank you for bringing me up in the way i should go. thank you for the tears im crying now. i love you.
Nancy Gustafson06/15/09
It seems that as our children grow, we finally come to see ourselves. I have often wondered why it takes us so long to see our destructive attributes as well as our positive ones. I guess we just have to trust God's timing. Good story.