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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Time-consuming (02/24/11)

TITLE: Soak In It
By Nancy Bucca


Her masterpiece was nearly complete. Then he came along and slaughtered it.

"The eyes are too big, the face is too round, and the chin - well, you ARE painting a woman, right?"

That last zinger struck Penelope's ears like nails on a chalkboard.


"What a waste of time!" it cried. "Get a real job, you lazy bum!"

Too angry to unzip her lips, she stuck a bristling brush out at Mister Brutal Honesty and thrust it in the rinsing bowl. Then with an angry swish, swish, swish she spat her own nails into his waiting teeth.

Like an firebrand, her body language hit its mark.

Tooting his trunk like a wounded elephant, callous dream crusher Al Adventuresome muttered, "Aw, go smell a skunk, you stinker!"

The echo of his crushing tread settled on her chest like a can of rotten tomatoes.

Muttering, "I don't stink, you stink," she poured the muddied water down the drain, then slumped into her chair with a WHOOSH like a deflating tire.

Worthless art lessons! All they earned her were insults. And she never heard the end of the price tag.

So much wasted time. So much wasted effort. And nothing, absolutely nothing to show for it. Might as well take that no good talent and shove it.

SPLASH! Out of the blue it suddenly hit her.

If she was to die that day, who would come to her funeral? According to her sleazy (not to mention sneeze-y) husband, it would be a miracle if even God showed up.

BANG! went the toilet seat.

She pinched herself. "Shame on him for slamming the lid on your creativity!"

She pinched herself again. "Shame on you for mashing ashes on your headship."

She hated herself for hating him. Why couldn't she get over this?

Rejection. That was it. Rejection. Four decades of deaf ears turned against her bright ideas had left her bitter as Naomi and twice as disillusioned. And like Miriam incensed over Moses' "too cushy" Cushite wife, it cast a leprous shroud over her visage.

Beams of Isaiah chapter 53 mixed with the first chapter of John's gospel, shining a long buried revelation onto the canvas of her mind. For He, the pure, unadulterated light of God's Word, had also been rejected by men. Over and over and over again. And by His stripes she was healed.

She knew this. Had it down pat. Got the revelation years ago.

"Yes, I know," said a little voice from deep inside her heart. "You got the revelation. Now SOAK IN IT."



"Uh, er - Sure, Lord. As soon as I finish climbing this mountain."


"But - but Lord, I've been fishing all night and all I've caught are flounders."

"Yes, and your ministry has taken a bath. Now do as I say, Ms. Naaman-and-Claim-in'. SOAK IN IT."

Naaman? Did He say 'Naaman?' No wonder the woman in the portrait looked a man! As she sat pondering this new insight, she happened to see a brush sitting in her cluttered "art box" all caked and crusted over with paint. She thought she'd rinsed it out.

Apparently a one-time dip was not enough.


"All right, Lord. I get it. But I think I'll stick with the Esther analogy."

And so it was she laid aside her beloved project in order to bask in the purifying oil of His joy, meditating on the sweet odors of His Word.

Seconds turned to minutes, turned to hours, turned to days, turned to weeks, turned to months as she submitted to the beauty of His fuller's soap.

The healing process was very time-consuming. But in the end her social leprosy was cured. Like Job, she found new comfort, new hope, and a new vision for ministry. Everyone noticed the change, and soon she had more customers than she could handle.

One day, about a year after her life-altering decision, her husband surprised her by digging up the initial picture.

"You know, this has a lot of potential," he remarked. "It's really pretty good. But seeing how consumed you were with it at the time, this behemoth couldn't resist taking a jab at it."

"That's okay, honey," she replied. "I've was acting like a real leviathan at the time. Can you forgive me?"

"Only if you forgive me first."

"No, after you."

"No, I insist."

And there they went again!

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This article has been read 731 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Allison Egley 03/05/11
This is a good example of why we shouldn't always rely on other's (or our own) judgement about our talents.:)

To me, the sound words (splash, bang, etc.) detracted from the entry a bit, and you wrote the rest of the story well enough, that some of the sounds were assumed, and would have been just fine without them.

Loved the ending!
Sunny Loomis 03/08/11
Art is an individual, unique thing. I like this. Thank you.
Troy Manning03/10/11
Congrats on your 1st place in Advanced! Lots of fun similes--favorites of mine were "settled on her chest like a can of rotten tomatoes" & "all I caught were flounders." Nice message too about seeking our strength in the Lord & not in men.
Amanda Brogan03/10/11
The humor in this piece lends to a very well-portrayed lesson. I think the line about a one-time dip not being enough is very powerful. I've learned that sometimes when God teaches us a lesson, He'll often bring it back over and over and over again. You're so right ... once isn't enough. We have to soak in it.

Congrats on your winnings for this wonderful entry!
Rachel Phelps03/10/11
Great voice in this story. Congratulations on your EC!
Dawn Thomason03/10/11
Congrats on your 1st (and 5th!) place wins this week!
Lillian Rhoades 03/10/11
Super dittos on your 1st place win. A wonderful Christian message for those of us who always want to take a "quick dip."
Bonnie Bowden 03/14/11
Congratulations on a well deserved 1st place. I liked the MCs dialogue. Art like writing is so... subjective. I am so glad I got to Soak it all in.