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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Persuasion (not about the book) (09/01/11)

TITLE: The Three Cords
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom


His shoulders slumped, he went to Father for advice, ”I’m worried about her, Father. She’s been so despondent lately. All of her life she has had terrible death phobias, yet still often thinks about killing herself. I want so much more for her.”

“That is ironic that the death phobias have kept her alive.” He looked at his son and chuckled, “They say God works in mysterious ways.”

“I love her so much and she can’t see her own value or purpose in life. Plus she’s been sick and in pain for years; in and out of hospitals for the medicine. She’s done some wonderful ministry while a patient, but she is destined for so much more. I think tonight is the night.”

Father thought intently, “She is supposed to go home from the hospital today, but I can arrange it so she stays. Just don’t take it too far.”


That night in a hospital room, Shelley tossed and turned. She was supposed to go home today even though the doctors didn’t have any answers. She sat up and heaved into the basin. Her ribs hurt from the constant vomiting. At 10 PM, the nurse came in with a sip of water and handed her a cup of pills. She swallowed them gingerly, waited a minute to see if they would stay down, then turned on her side and drifted off.

She tossed and turned; her dreams were odd. She was at her daughter’s house and her son-in-law just entered the room to find her unconscious. He scooped her up and rushed her to the nearest hospital. But even though she could hear the doctors and nurses yelling out orders and she could feel them try to intubate her to help her breath, she could still see her precious family in the hall huddled together and crying. This dream was silly; there was no way all of her kids could have gotten here so quickly.

She tried to scream as the pain burned her alive. Suddenly, she saw the umbilical-like cords. As she felt her spirit leave her body, she grabbed the nearest cord, the red one. Instantly it filled her with hate and anger; the pain was unbearable she dropped it and never touched it again.

The next cord was silver and though she was in pain, the silver cord allowed her to see her family. She realized she was dying; next to her was a glowing gold cord. She grabbed it for a second and the panic instantly left her, but she couldn’t see her family anymore.

Shelley couldn’t get the picture of her kids crying out of her head. She couldn’t die yet. Her youngest was going to graduate high school, her son was going to be a minister, and her oldest was going to give her a grandbaby. She didn’t want to miss that so she grabbed the silver cord once again. She gritted her teeth as the pain and panic surged back into her body. Finally she could stand it no longer. “Please, Jesus, I don’t want to die. I’m so afraid. Don’t let this be the end.”

Through her fog, she clearly heard the words, “Just hold on, Shelley, hold on. You’ll be okay.” With one last glance at her family, she decided if she were going to believe Jesus was her Savior, she would have to commit and grasp the gold cord and trust that her kids would be fine. She grabbed the gold cord with both hands and held on.

Later, she woke up in the ICU. The doctors had stabilized her and explained that she almost died. Shelley had stopped breathing in the night and the nurse had found her cold and blue. She shook her head in amazement when the doctor told her she had severe sleep apnea and had not slept for more than a few minutes at a time since she was a kid. The lack of sleep was causing most of her health problems. They would give her a machine to use at night so this wouldn’t happen again.

When her minister walked in that afternoon, she smiled, “I had the most amazing vision!”


Jesus looked at the Father, “I think that may have convinced her that she needs to live her life to the fullest. Wonderful plan, Lord, making her vomit.”

“I love her too, Son. Plus you know what they say; God DOES work in mysterious ways.”

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This article has been read 676 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 09/09/11
Clever, whimiscal in some places, and overall a nice read. God Bless~
Amy Michelle Wiley 09/10/11
I love how God uses even dreams of umbilical cords to speak to us. Great story. The only thing I wasn't sure about was the comment Jesus made about vomiting. Did the anti-nausea meds influence the near-death?
Linda Goergen09/10/11
Imaginative story! Interesting read!
Bryan Ridenour09/13/11
Wow...and this really happened? Well written and it is interesting how God works in mysterious ways.
Gwen Plauche09/13/11
Well written story that draws Tyne reader in! Great job.
Gwen Plauche09/13/11
Correction: "that draws the reader in.". (Love that auto-correct!)
Allison Egley 09/13/11
Oh wow. I love this piece. God really does work in mysterious ways, doesn't He?
Helen Curtis09/13/11
This was scary-real! What a horrible feeling she (you) must have had. Well done, I really love this.
Ivy Strader09/14/11
Wow. Jesus has his hand on you, for sure. It's always amazing to hear a great testimony like this. Love you!
Loren T. Lowery09/14/11
Held my attention the entire way through. You have a good way of capturing your reader and leading through the events taking place - the quick pace was nice to see. I liked the moral of the story as well! He does work in mysterious ways; and thank goodness for His love.
Danielle King 09/14/11
I loved this captivating story too. I think it's a true account, probably of yourself, and C PAP, is that what you call the breathing machine over the pond? It works doesn't it, but oh what a monstrous thing to wear in bed! Love your open and honest accounts of life's problems. x
Patricia Protzman09/14/11
Good story. Held my interest all the way through.
Lillian Rhoades 09/14/11
Amazing personal testimony couched in a fictional mode. Loved how you set the scene that allowed us see heaven's deliberations; even though fictionalize.
I think you may have meant, "Wonderful, plan, Father...." Otherwise it seems as if Jesus is talking to Himself, I think.

Loved the touch of humor you assigned to your fictional God. Yes, that's what we say, and you proved it.:-)
marcella franseen09/14/11
God's ways are often mysterious and always higher than our understanding. What a great and good God we serve!
Shelley Ledfors 09/14/11
What a powerful testimony. The Lord does, indeed, work in mysterious ways. May God continue to bless you on your journey to improved health!
Fiona Stevenson09/15/11
I guess this means that you now have answers, Shan-Shelley? Great news, and a great testimony. Keep writing. God bless you.
Ken Ebright 09/15/11
I like the part about the different color cords it reminds me of the different horses in the book of Revelation.

I am glad you’re still with us. Good story.
Dannie Hawley 03/04/12
Terrific article and awesome God! Thanks for sharing this intense bit of your lifewith us.
Alicia Renkema01/24/13
Oh my gosh, what a tremendously thought provoking story! Loved the idea of the three cords; what was attached to them and that God gave the character as He often will, their choice along with its inevitable consequences. I read this story several times and will go back and mark it as one of my favorites! God is sooo good. I was unprepared for the ending and though it did make me grin I have to admit, I would have ended it with what you said to the minister about having to tell him about your vision... That was funny also, but to me more in keeping with the story. I still think this is one of the best stories I ever read. It was very engaging and it actually made me wish I could read more of the story... Blessings to you Shann you sweetheart! jerseygirl