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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Flowers (10/03/05)

TITLE: Flowers of Faith
By Amy Michelle Wiley
10/09/05


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I sat on the cold stone bench, running my fingers over the pages of a tiny book. A picture of a beaming baby christened the front of it, but inside there were only pages of pressed flowers, no words, no pictures, only dried flowers. A pink carnation, a setting of wildflowers, a bright daisy, a cluster of yellow petals, a single pink rose. With a tear slipping down my cheek, I closed my eyes, remembering.



Thwumpa, thwumpa. The sound of our baby's heartbeat filled the room and I thought I would overflow with happiness. But the nurse turned abruptly from the ultrasound. “I’ll be right back.”

Concerned, I studied the image of our baby up on the screen, searching for any sign of a problem. When the nurse returned with the doctor, Aaron touched my arm, and I realized I was squeezing his hand hard. I tried to relax, but the doctor turned and looked solemnly at us and I clutched even more tightly.

"It's a girl!" A bit of a smile glimmered in the doctor’s eyes before he sobered. “The left side of your daughter’s heart is abnormally small. She will need to have open heart surgery shortly after she is born.”

I buried my head in Aaron’s shoulder and wept. That day was long. Aaron returned to work, and I paced the house. Just me and the baby. My baby who’s heart would fail her.

When Aaron finally arrived home, he held a bouquet of pink carnations. Lifting my chin, he kissed me. “We’ll get through this together, Bethany. God will see us through.”

I touched the frail petals, and I voiced words that had pounded through my head all day. “Why would He let such a little one have such pain?” Then the worse question. “Has He given her to us only to take her away?”

Aaron was quiet for a time. “It could be,” he chose his words carefully, “that this baby needs a special family to love her for the short time she’s on earth.” But then his eyes brightened and he laid a hand on my belly. “Or perhaps God will heal her. Perhaps He already has!” Hope filled our empty despair and we smiled into each other’s eyes. We did not understand. But we had faith in The One Who Did.



Five months later….

I stared at the wildflowers on the hospital windowsill. Labor had gone on for hours and my tired eyes could only find a mad swirl of colors. A baby’s cry jerked me back to reality and I craned, desperate to see beyond the screen hanging above my waist.

“She’s doing fine!” The doctor’s voice brought a flood of relief.

The nurse was beaming as she held our baby for us to see. Aaron touched her cheek, this child, our Baby Faith. We watched with hearts so mixed with joy and sorrow, love and pain, as they took her away to monitor the heart struggling to pump.

And still we prayed, prayed for healing.



Two weeks later…

Faith’s surgery had not been a success. Her heart was too damaged, they said, too damaged to fix. The only thing now, was to wait for a transplant.

We held her tightly, whispering to her and singing. Watching her body fight the drugs. Everyday we prayed that this would be the day that brought a new heart. Each day God said, “Hold her close and love this daughter of Mine. Today is your day with her.”

I kissed her beside the daisy that peeked from her headband. Faith cooed, brushing my cheek with her velvet-soft hand.



One-and-a-half months later…

The room rang with silence, the doctors and nurses standing with shoulders drooped, the machines quiet. Time stopped as we held her one last time, releasing her gently into arms more loving even than our own.

Then we held each other, Aaron and I. And though pain was strong, we rejoiced in those days we had spent with Faith, touching her, seeing her smile. Faith had been healed more fully than any surgery could do.

Our families waited in the hall. We sat around a plastic table, a bouquet of yellow roses at its center, and wept together. Prayed together.



I stirred on the bench. Slowly I set a pink rose into the vase on the headstone in front of me. Touching a petal, I smiled. Two months we had been given. Two precious months.




This fictional story was inspired by the life of Faith Harris (Aug 8--Oct 6, 2005)


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This article has been read 1280 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Crista Darr10/11/05
"Faith had been healed more fully than any surgery could do." So sweet and tender, I want to cry. This is a beautiful offering.
Brandi Roberts10/11/05
A loving tribute to precious Faith. Thank you so much for sharing.
Helga Doermer10/11/05
There are so many families who have lived this. Hearts, flowers, heartaches ... and for some the healing.
Jesus Puppy 10/11/05
Such beauty can not be seen in words alone.. this is truly a work of such love.. Well done..
Karen Ward10/12/05
A fitting tribute. "We did not understand. But we had faith in The One Who Did." So often this is all we can say when faced with trials such as this. Well done.
Debbie Sickler10/12/05
With my second pregnancy, I was given bad news over the phone of a dark and empty waiting room, so I can relate to the matter of fact attitude of your story's doctor. It is such an emotional thing to go through, I would have like to see a little more description of their pain and what was going on in their heads. I also liked the line towards the end about being healed better than any surgery could have done.
Alexandra Wilkin10/13/05
Deeply moving and touching tribute. God bless.
Suzanne R10/13/05
So sad ... and yet with a strong ray of hope. My friends went through a similar situation, so I identify strongly with you, the onlooker. Your piece brought many tears to my eyes. Like you, I also wrote a piece for the parents. Even more touching was the fact that I was prompted to write it as baby Hope was being born ... or at least, her body. She'd died already.

As for constructive feedback, I'd just say to change 'who's' to 'whose'.

Blessings on you, Amy.

Jan Ackerson 10/13/05
Very tender and touching. I love pieces that show Christians with realistic reactions to suffering. The only thing I would change is the headings like "Five months later..." They seem to interfere with the flow of the piece. Perhaps you could indicate the passage of time just by that extra space, or by writing transitional sentences (maybe referring to changes in weather, or some such). All in all, a fantastic piece.
Anita Neuman10/13/05
A beautiful tribute. Faith's parents will cherish this!

I'd suggest a new paragraph at "That day was long." The transition from weeping on Aaron's shoulder to him being at work was too abrupt. Also, I like the headings (Five months later) but I'd change "One and a half" to "Six weeks".
Overall, this is a well-written, touching piece. Great job!
Shari Armstrong 10/14/05
a wonderful tribute to a beautiful baby and her parents. I had to stop myself from crying to finish reading it.
Pat Guy 10/15/05
How so very precious Amy. You did a really good job on a difficult subject. It touched my heart.
Garnet Miller 10/15/05
Thank you for sharing this article so full of anguish and great love. We do not know the Master's plan for any of our lives. We must rest in His everlasting love and guidance as we each take this journey. This is the only way we can survive this trial called "Life". I was touched by your article.
Val Clark10/16/05
A stirring story that bought a lump to my throat. Thank you for entering into it and sharing it. Yeggy
terri tiffany10/16/05
Very emotional journey. I loved the way you began and ended it. WOuld have to agree that I might change the way you mentioned time passing..though not sure how..maybe with just with spacing as suggested earlier.
Linda Watson Owen10/16/05
Wonderful, heartrending, hope instilling. Thank you for such beautiful writing.
Lauren Bombardier10/17/05
Well done, Amy! Better than I could have done. J and K will love it.
Tammy Johnson10/17/05
A beautiful memorial story. Very nicely done.
Dixie Phillips 10/17/05
Oh my..... I am experiencing a GOD MOMENT right now. Just this last Friday my husband and I attended the funeral of 10 day old Aspen Faith. She, too, had a heart condition and was not a candidate for surgery. I must print this story and give it to the family. A BEAUTIFUL STORY......... You have such a LARGE GIFT..... May JESUS enlarge your territory. Hugs, Dixie
DeAnna Brooks11/16/05
I watched a couple who had awaited a baby for years go through this same journey. You captured it exquisitely .... including the hope and rejoicing they never lost (though their daughter had surgery, she didn't survive, the day after she was born.) They were in church the next day - it was something I will never forget. May God continue to keep His hand of blessing on your writing, for it touches deep where we live.