Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Autumn/Fall (08/27/09)
TITLE: Don’t Let Your Faith Flow Away With Your Tears
By Linda Boulanger
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Shawna decided to take a walk, hopeful the breeze might serve to cool her searing, too-stretched skin. The sun dress she wore was the same burnt orange as the changing leaves that floated down from the trees above and carpeted the earth beneath her feet. They crunched as she walked upon them. Shawna had always loved that sound. She sighed, allowing the sights, smells, and sounds to fill her with tranquility. The baby must have noticed. The little fellow settled into stillness and quit kicking her stomach. His feet seemed to be permanently hooked either there or in her ribcage.
The end of her pregnancy was near. She would be glad to see the discomfort come to a close yet she felt ill-suited to raise this child alone. Still she smiled. There was that niggling feeling inside her that all would be well.
Shawna came to the end of the path. A large oak tree shaded her from the scorching heat and she lovingly ran her hand across a heart carved in the trunk. There were letters, initials, inside the heart that belonged to her and the babyâ€™s father. She fingered each letter, thanking the Lord for Trentâ€™s safe return. It was a stretch of faith. Theyâ€™d been told his troop had been ambushed and, although all the bodies had not been recovered, all were presumed dead. Her husband was only twenty-three; too young to die no matter how noble the cause.
Sheâ€™d married Trent Crawford shortly before his deployment. It was a simple ceremony right beneath this very tree where heâ€™d carved their initials when they were still teens. Heâ€™d told her then that she was destined to marry him. Sheâ€™d believe him then. Heâ€™d also told her the good Lord would see him safely returned to her and their child. He made that promise the night before he left as she wept in his arms. She clung to that thread of hope, especially now.
Shawna sat down with her back against the tree, her arms crossed over her engorged belly. The shade and the breeze felt good. She closed her eyes. She was so tired. A feeling of such complete contentment washed over her to the point that passing time had no meaning.
She had no idea how long sheâ€™d sat under the tree before a snapping twig flooded her with caution. Her eyes quickly opened and she scanned the area. She blinked in disbelief trying to rid her mind of the illusion that Trent was walking toward her. Onward the figure came, smiling and waving.
â€śTrent?â€ť she whispered attempting to clumsily raise herself from the bed of leaves.
â€śI knew Iâ€™d find you here.â€ť He helped her up. Her hands remained clasped in his as he studied her confused face. â€śYou didnâ€™t get my letter telling you I was coming home, did you?â€ť He smiled as she shook her head. â€śStill you believed. I told you Heâ€™d bring me home to you and our baby.â€ť His hands went to her protruding belly.
Shawna nodded, allowing happy tears to roll down her cheeks as he pulled her into his arms. They were the first tears sheâ€™d cried since heâ€™d left home. Sheâ€™d felt crying would show a lack of belief. Just like the separation, it had been hard. So many times sheâ€™d wanted to give in and let them flow. But she knew her faith in what heâ€™d spoken would have flowed away with them.
Arm in arm Shawna and Trent crunched through the autumn leaves down the path to the little home they shared. Together they walked into the future knowing faith had brought them together and belief had kept them safe. Hope surrounded them, tightening their bond with every step they took. It was a hope born of their trust in a faithful God.
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