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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Guard Your Heart (06/08/12)

TITLE: A Journey Through the States
By Allen Povenmire


During my life, Iíve had the opportunity to visit 34 different States in our wonderful country. A thorough swing through the Northeast would cover a good portion of those I havenít visited. Oddly, Iíve never been to a directional State, one starting with North, South, or West. Iíve been to California and Washington, but Oregon, sandwiched in between the two, no. From its locale, Oregon might not ever get crossed off the list!

While these are the geographical States that Iíve been to, there have certainly been other states that Iíve dabbled in, and even spent considerable time in, that are not on any map. I bet with a bit of reflection, youíve been to these states at various times in your life as well.

One morning at work in 2001, my wife phoned and told me someone had just flown an airplane into the World Trade Center. I first found myself in a State of Ignorance, not really knowing for sure exactly what the World Trade Center was, nor what it represented. Before that fateful day, we now know simply as 9/11, I think most of our country lived more in a State of Innocence, not fully realizing the capacity of evil our world was capable of.

Later that fateful morning, I gathered around a television with others, watching in silence at those unbelievable events. I stood in a State of Disbelief as people leapt from the upper floors of the towers before the buildings finally collapsed. Iím certain I traveled through the States of Confusion, Understanding, and Anger, in that order. You might well have had the same travel itinerary...

Several times during my career, I was uprooted from one work location to another. It seemed that each move occurred while my life was residing in a State of Contentment. With each incident, I entered a State of Doubt of whether or not God was truly in control of the situation. But every time, through the vehicle of hindsight, I was delivered to a State of Awareness that He indeed was guiding my life in order to achieve His purpose for me and my family.

In August of 2003, we were vacationing with our grown children, grandchildren, and my in-laws. Weíd pulled campers to a favorite campground in Branson, Missouri. Basking in the States of Joy and Happiness all week, we enjoyed swimming, boating, and all the area had to offer.

About three oíclock on our final day there, my mother called and hit me with news that jerked me to a State of Devastation...biopsies had confirmed that the suspicious spots on my fatherís chest x-rays were indeed cancerous. Without treatment, he would live about six months...and there really wasnít a feeling that treatment would do any good. I sat alone in a State of Shock.

Later, I pulled my wife aside and told her the grim news. She immediately led us to a State of Prayer. I asked her not to say anything to the rest of the group. I didnít want our last night to be spent in the States of Gloom and Despair. Later that evening, I treated my father-in-law to his first ever helicopter ride, and had an especially memorable time on an area thrill ride with our oldest daughter. You might say I was spending time in a State of Denial, but I think it was more a State of Realization of how precious our time with family really is...eight short months later I stood over my dadís flag-draped casket in the definite States of Loss and Grief.

All too often, Iíve not dwelled in a State of Appreciation for all that has been sacrificed on my behalf. Further, Iíve sinfully lingered at times in a State of Apathy about my salvation, keeping my heart to myself instead of sharing the fullness of the Fatherís perpetual State of Grace.

Yes, Iíve had the good fortune to visit a good portion of our great country. But it has been the various States that my heart has traveled through, often despite my efforts to protect it, that have left the deepest impressions in my life. It was during those journeys that God molded and shaped me into the man I am today.

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This article has been read 511 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/15/12
I like this. At first I wasn't sure it was on topic but the more I read the more I realized that it was a creative take and quite on topic. It made me think of my daughter. Emily is making graduation cupcakes for her little sister in the form of the Periodic Table. My sister suggested she had an additional element called SU. It would be the element of surprise. I enjoy little word plays like that and your different states. I think I've been in most of those states too. How blessed we are to have God as our travel guide. :)
Leola Ogle 06/15/12
Awesome! I really enjoyed this, and appreciated the play on words. Well written and kept my interest. Good job!
Genia Gilbert06/17/12
Unique take on the topic and good writing. I liked this.
C D Swanson 06/17/12
Nicely done. This was a well written piece that had significant meaning on several different levels. God Bless~
Loren T. Lowery06/18/12
Great job in presenting this article. What could have been boring and mundane, by the use of your personal experiences without the use of needless humor, you made this very real and believable. It kept my attention the entire time.
Allison Egley 06/18/12
Very nice job. Though I'm somewhat sad that your memory my own home state (Missouri) was such a bittersweet moment for you. I loved all the "states" you visited.
lynn gipson 06/19/12
I enjoyed this very much...thank you for taking me with you through this journey....great writing
Leola Ogle 06/26/12
Congratulations Allen! Great job! Just now getting around to this-been in Texas on vacation!
Noel Mitaxa 03/09/13
Very clever wordplay without pushing it so hard that you distract from the honest invitation to greater faith within your message. Well done.