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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)

TITLE: What Do You Feel?
By Sarah Elisabeth


It took three rings on the bell and five minutes of tap-taps on the front door before Katie cracked it open. She was in her bathrobe. I looked at my wristwatch and then back at her.

Katie swiped her bangs to the side and mumbled. “Look, Melissa, I know I said I’d go with ya tonight, but I’ve had this terrible headache all day…” Her words faltered when our eyes met. She knew I wasn’t buying it.

“Can I at least come inside so we can talk?”

Katie’s hesitancy was pointed, but I didn’t back down. She swung the door wide. “Sure.”

I knew Katie needed time. Time to recover from years of drug addiction, and to heal from abusive relationships.

I cleared a spot to sit down on her couch that was propped at one end with crushed beer cans. Katie’s descent onto it left me wondering how the other two legs had survived. I watched her, knowing my every word would affect her life. I was the only one building on her self esteem.

When Katie didn’t offer more explanation, I proceeded in my typical manner: lead with questions. Shut up and listen.

“Why don’t you want to come to the ladies fellowship?”

Her response came haltingly, and I could see traces of tears staining her cheeks. “I wanted to, Mel. I really did. When you led me to the Lord, I-I can’t even describe it. I felt so beautiful and at peace. I wanted to know all about everything. But when you took me to your church last Sunday, even cleaned up and with a dress on, I felt so dirty. Maybe not so much dirty, it’s just everyone there is so clean. I didn’t belong. But I was gonna go tonight until…”

The tumble of words stopped, and my prayer remained constant. Lord, she has come so far in only two weeks. Am I pushing too hard? Please help me to know the right way.

I told myself caution was key but I sensed this ice as solid enough to bear my weight. “Until what?”

Katie’s sigh still sounded like a hiss. She yanked on the sleeves of her robe, sliding them to her elbow. “I was getting dressed and look. How can I meet ladies at church with these?” Katie shook her head, brushing my face with her auburn locks. “You can see them from a mile away…“

I reached out and stroked the scars marring her arms. “What did you feel when you did this?”

Eyes on the shag carpet, she replied, “I don’t know. Just high.”

“What do you feel now when you see the needle tracks?”

“Ashamed. Worthless. Stupid.” Katie tugged the sleeves back in place.

“Do you know what I see? Sin forgiven. Mercy shown. Unconditional love pouring out on a child of God.” I reached out and drew Katie’s sleeve up again. “Heroine tracks-that’s what they were, Katie. But do you know what they are now?” I traced a bluish vain with my thumb. “Reminders of God’s grace.”

It would be three years before I was privileged to watch Katie give her testimony to a congregation of over five hundred. But the words she spoke made it seem as if only an instant had passed.

“She doesn’t care for recognition, but I could not tell the story of my salvation without talking about my sister, Melissa,” Katie began. “I’m so thankful for her tough love. She helped me realize some important truths in those first months after rehab. One of the best decisions I made was to move in with her. She said home would be the best place to start over.” Katie’s voice cracked and I looked away. There would be no chance of either of us making it through with eyes connected.

A moment passed before I could watch Katie drawing up the sleeves of the flower patterned shirt she wore. She continued. “I still have the scars of when I used drugs. I use to think they would be constant reminders of how it felt to get high. Now when I see them, I feel a rush of the presence of God and His grace. I’ve been on both sides. I’m here to testify as to which one is really…..the true high.”

Kleenex in hand, I dried the tears as they fell onto my own scarred arm.

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This article has been read 693 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 09/03/10
A powerful testimony of what God can accomplish in our lives when we invite Him in. I liked the non-threatening character of Melissa and the strength of her love for her sister.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/06/10
This is a beautiful testament to what God's love can do.
Cheryl Harrison09/07/10
You did it again. Made me cry. Stop that! No, on second thought... keep it up! Good writing.
Amanda Brogan09/07/10
Wow! I am truly in awe! I love the part where Melissa tells Katie that her scars are reminders of God's grace. So eloquent and powerful! And then the end where we get two surprises from the pair ... wow! I'll take that "supernatural high" any time. ;)

I have no red ink to offer other than a teensy weensy spot at the end where Katie says "use to." I'm thinking that "used to" is more proper but I could be wrong.
Caitlyn Meissner09/07/10
*scatters gold box cheer* ;)
I liked this a lot. It was well written, and had a very important message. The ending was great, too. Don't worry about whether it's any better or worse than your other stories. It's important for what it is: a testimony to God's grace. Thank you!
Mona Purvis09/07/10
Sarah, what I am drawn to in this piece is the emotional maturity of the writer. You. This is an adult piece with raw emotions and an ugly all-too-human subject. Very current.
You offered God's grace to the reader through the characters. How special!

Verna Cole Mitchell 09/08/10
A superb demonstration of "drawing" someone to Christ. Your analogy of the scars is priceless. This story shines.
Rachel Phelps09/08/10
Sarah, this is a shining example of why you truly belong in Masters. Your stories are honest, wonderfully crafted, and always contain an emotional and spiritual gold nugget. Wonderful! My favorite story this week.
Elizabeth Cain09/08/10
Where to begin? The story flowed well. Good dialog. Loved the characters. I enjoyed that your details were spaced out in your story. Kept it interesting! My favorite detail would be that the two women were sisters. My favorite part of the story was the testimony at the end—it was an excellent and satisfying way to end. Great job overall!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/09/10
Congratulations for placing in the top 40 overall.
Amanda Brogan09/10/10
Congrats on placing in the top 40, Sarah! :D This was really a great story. ;)