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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: Fixing The Problem
By Genia Gilbert


Getting the kids out the door and onto the school bus was always a race for time. Waving them goodbye, Rachel stepped back inside, turning her mind to the pressing issue.

She was seething with anger. She’d "had it" with her sister Rene. It was time to take a stand.

It was two weeks before Thanksgiving, and plans were made. Rene had called Mom last night to say she and Karl couldn’t be there until Saturday.

“Could we please wait and have our Thanksgiving time then?” Rene had pleaded. Mom had promised to check it out.

What a spoiled brat. You would think her wishes wouldn’t continue to determine the time and place of all the family holidays. After all, there are three other siblings.

“This time I’ll set her straight. I will write her a firm note, giving her no chance to reply.” Rachel said aloud to the empty room.

As she sat down, pulling out stationery, her anger grew. All her life she had been in Rene’s shadow. True, Rene was the straight “A” student, and the pageant queen. Growing up, she never took an unflattering picture, and always had boys lined up, competing for her attention. Rachel herself led more of a stay-at-home life, often conned into doing part of Rene’s chores, and settling for reading romance novels.

But it’s time for her to learn she is not the center of the universe. She and Karl and their two bratty kids can come on schedule or not at all.

“Dear Rene,” Rachel began to write, “it is impossible for all of us to change our plans for Thanksgiving. It is, after all, a holiday that is always on Thursday. I mean, like every year. This time you can arrange your schedule with ours. It is inconsiderate and selfish to expect us to accommodate you. I am sick of your grandstanding...” Rachel’s note stretched longer, but she felt great release, pouring out line after line of pent-up anger and resentment. The “note” became a two-page emotional letter.

Rachel resolutely sealed the envelope, placing it with her husband Dave’s outgoing mail. He usually dropped it at the drive-by post office box on his way to work. Feeling exhausted, she poured another cup of coffee and headed to the deck for a few minutes before plunging into her busy day.

On her way out, Rachel grabbed her Bible and devotional book, hoping they would calm her down a bit. Wrong. From somewhere in her books, a page floated to the floor. Picking it up, she caught her breath. The notes from her ladies’ Bible class stared up at her. They were from Psalm 139. Their leader had asked them to pray together verses 23 and 24, using the words from her Amplified text. Rachel read them over now.

“Search me, [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Stunned, as if from a physical blow, Rachel could hardly believe this. Did those awful words in that letter really come from her? Had she truly asked God to search her, and had He answered that prayer with such clarity and power? One gigantic “yes” glared at her.

Brokenhearted, Rachel saw, laid out before her, years of wrong attitudes and harshness toward her only sister. Then flashed the word “jealousy” across her vision. Seeing herself in this light was painful, but even worse, facing the Lord Who had lavished on her such grace and love. Sadly she bowed in His presence and sought His pardon.

Suddenly remembering the letter, she rushed inside to find Dave had already gone, taking the stack of mail with him. Quickly she dialed his cell.

“What?” Dave asked, puzzled. “I dropped it all into the mailbox. They’ve picked it up by now, Hon. Is something wrong?” Rachel couldn’t reply.

The next morning, Mom called, saying simply that both Rachel’s brothers thought Saturday would work fine, as they really needed to be with in-laws on Thanksgiving Day. Rachel’s heartache worsened, wondering if she could ever make things right with Rene.

Hearing the postman on the following Monday, Rachel retrieved the mail. To her utter amazement, she saw “Returned for postage” stamped across her letter to Rene. In her anger she’d forgotten the stamp. Then the tears came, as Rachel ripped the letter, thanking God once again for that wonderful grace and love.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/28/10
This is a great story. You showed why it's always better to wait a bit before delivering a letter written in anger or hurt. I loved the ending. It was a great read with a wonderful message.
Beth LaBuff 10/31/10
What a relief your ending was. I was completely engaged through your whole story. You have a great message. Very nice work!
Jan Ackerson 11/02/10
Oh, how I love those tiny Godly interventions!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/10
Congratulations for placing 15th in level 3!