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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)

TITLE: The Pages Of My Life
By Dolores Stohler
05/05/10


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Back in the 80’s, when I was studying the art of writing, I thought it was time to write my autobiography. After all, my life had long ago wandered off the beaten path and taken some unusual twists and turns.

For instance, I’d had a near-death experience while pregnant with my third son. I went through that windy tunnel others have written about and met an angel who told me to return to earth. I lost the baby I had borne and mourned little Phillip for years. What had become of the life within me, I wondered. Finally, God revealed the truth to me: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.“ (Matthew 19:14 TLB) Of course! Why hadn’t I seen this before? Heaven is full of infants and small children. God in His love would never allow them to perish.

Seven years later, I came near death again in an auto accident. I spent a month in the hospital, then a full year with my leg in a cast. My husband suffered brain damage in the same accident and ended his life three years later after an attempt to strangle me. He was losing his mind completely and, as the suicide note confessed, “I must end it all before I kill someone. I can no longer control myself.“ The suicide took its toll on the children, of course, and I struggled to put some normalcy into their lives. Oh, yes, I was a Christian but my faith was tested almost beyond what I could endure during this difficult period.

It wasn’t surprising that I developed breast cancer five years later. My doctor had an unusual name for cancer. He called it “despair of the cells.“ However, by now I was working for a Christian organization and received plenty of support from friends and co-workers. It was during my recovery from a mastectomy that I began to write the story of my life.

About half way along I decided to send the MS to my writing instructor for his approval. His response was not encouraging: “I grew depressed just reading about all your troubles. Surely there must have been some sunshine in your life. I would encourage you to take a more positive approach to your writing.” I decided he was right and filed the MS away in a drawer. I’ve never looked at it again.

Life is like a book, I believe. As we turn the pages, we encounter difficulties that seem at the time insurmountable. We muddle through and learn new things. A God who loves us will test our mettle, allowing the tempter to play with us for a while, but will always be near to hear us when we call upon him for strength.

There were times when I cried like a baby and thought that I might drown in the river of my own tears. Those were the times when God sprang into action , performing miracles to show me how much he cared. Like the time when I lost my job and was short the $75 that I thought I needed to feed my family. I figured it over and over. Yes, that was exactly the amount I needed to get me through the month. In the midst of my sobs, I asked God for that amount of money. It came two days later in the form of a check from my son’s Sunday School teacher. When I called to thank him, he said God had spoken to him in his office, telling him to send me that amount of money. And he obeyed without question! Would I have done the same?

As I near the end of my life and, perhaps am approaching the final chapter, I reflect on the many lessons I have learned. They are too many to write them here but I can summarize by saying the most important thing is to live simply without giving too much importance to money and possessions, but every importance to living for God and loving your fellow human beings. Share what you have with others, forgive those who harm you, use every opportunity to share your faith and look forward to the soon coming of Christ and life in the hereafter.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Dowd 05/07/10
Just because some editor tells you to give up your dream of writing "your life", and because you say you are coming near to the end of your life, DON'T GIVE UP! I didn't think I could do it either, but I did. And so can you..."Write what you know" is what I was taught in writing courses. Well, you certainly know what you went through. So just because your manuscript was rejected by one editor doesn't mean your story needs sit on a shelf. Persist. Just keep on. Look at it with the eyes of someone else, and write from another perspective...Your story will bless someone, sometime...Don't give up. But keep looking up! And I know you are...Helen
Virgil Youngblood 05/07/10
God's sustaining grace is clearly seen in you writing. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
angelos2 wark05/08/10

I disagree with the Editor who rejected your MS.
Life is full of struggle and heartache. Not every frog gets to kiss the prince!

Someone going through the difficulties that you have experienced needs to hear your story.
Perhaps the best part of your manuscript, is the part you are now living?

There is a time and season for all things. I pray that this might be yours. God's abundant blessings and grace be upon you.
Mildred Sheldon05/11/10
Thank you for such a beautiful article. It is so sad, tender, gentle and moving. God has bought you thus far and He will continue carrying you through. Do not count all as lost for we can see the here and now but God sees eternal.