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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: PICNIC - deadline 7-12-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/05/12)

TITLE: Life's Been no Picnic
By Marina Rojas


Reading the words written below the picture posted on her Facebook wall brought a Mona Lisa smile to her face.

“You haven’t changed at all! It’s so good to see you’re exactly the same after all these years!” her long lost high school friend gushed.

Her mind took her back to high school days. Wow, it really did seem like they were only yesterday. She had always been rushing to class, laughing with friends, always busy with somewhere to go, something to do.

Everything seemed to be so far away and events seemed as if they would never come to pass. ‘I can’t wait for the recital! I wish it were Saturday!’ She remembered always wishing for time to hurry up, and she remembered her mother’s words, “Oh, baby please don’t wish your life away. Things will happen soon enough, live life for today, it’s all you have promised.”

Of course she would roll her eyes and sigh. How could her mother understand? She was just so….well….old.

She had met a young man in high school and fell in love. She couldn’t wait to marry him, move away and become a family. Her mother had begged her to take some time before getting so serious, but as always, she was in a hurry to see things done, and so very soon after graduation, she became a bride and was well on her way to her own life.

Now, here she was, decades of years after high school. She jolted to the present, staring at her own picture on the screen. Her face did look the same, and she still well resembled the long lanky girl that had felt so awkwardly tall walking down the hallways at Franklin High.

Look the same? Certainly, she thought.

But I am not that girl anymore. She had gone through hardships once she had left home. Her husband, the love of her life, had become an alcoholic and soon began to emotionally abuse her. He never once laid a hand on her but sometimes she wished he would have, instead of the constant criticism and stinging words.

He began to have a roving eye, and other women began to catch his attention. Long nights spent at home alone while crying had become the only thing she had to look forward to. She hated her new life, but she had moved far, far away from her mother and family and felt there was nothing she could do to save herself.

One day she remembered the Bible her mother had packed into her suitcase and decided to begin to read it. Longing to understand its words, she decided to go to church on Sunday and look for some kind of help there. Maybe someone there would help her know how to get out of the mess she was in. As she left her home to get into the car on Sunday morning, her husband didn’t even stir out of his drunken slumber. She sighed a sigh of relief.

Church began a new life for her. She soaked in every word the pastor said, and joined a ladies Bible study. She never told anyone about her problems, she just sat quietly and listened to the others. They always encouraged her through their words, and she grew strong in the Lord.

One day, she grew strong enough to invite her husband to church. Surprisingly, he accepted her invitation and she beamed as they sat together in the pew. He was surprised to find that no one was pointing fingers at him, or anyone else for that matter, and no one nagged him about all the bad he’d done in his life and he kept coming back. Soon he accepted Christ as his savior and life changed. They changed. Things became different, things became better.

As her thoughts came back to the present, she began typing a response to her old friend, ‘Thank you for the kind words! The Lord has been merciful, and although I might look the same, I am a brand new creature in Christ.’

Thinking back on her days she realized that life had been no picnic, but she had tasted the sweetness of the word of God when heartache had been her only friend and her life had changed so much, even if her picture had not.

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This article has been read 433 times
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/12/12
This is a sweet story. I could easily envision that own journey in my life as well. There is just something about looking back on one's mistakes but feeling secure in the knowledge that through Christ those mistakes are only a distant memory.

Just a couple of tiny red ink. This story was riveting but it was mostly telling. Just one example might be this line -- Wow, it really did seem like they were only yesterday. It's a passive sentence and is telling perhaps if you could mix it up just a bit --The images whirled past her mind as clear and sharp as the day she entered high school. I know that's not a great example and often with testimonials it is harder to show than tell. You did an excellent job of telling though. Even though I didn't necessarily get pictures in my head I did feel like I was right next to you as you retold the story of that girl.

The other thing is tiny but when Mom speaks , make sure you start a new paragraph.

There are so many lessons in this story. As a mom myself, I like the one listen to your mother! :) You had a great start. pretty much everyone can relate to seeing a message like that on FB. The topic makes me a tad nervous. I think it was creative but unless I'm mistaken this quarter the winning stories will be published in an anthology so the topic needs to be more specific to an actual picnic. But you did a fantastic job of journeying through life. I like how the husband came around. Sure it took time but she never gave up on him and that will give hope to lots of spouses whose partners have lost their way. Nice job.
Phyllis Inniss07/12/12
I agree that there are other women out there who would identify with what the narrator went through and it was a well-written and interesting story. I wonder though if the husband made too quick a conversion. I know that God works miracles, but I would have liked to see more tension before his acceptance of the Word.
Genia Gilbert07/12/12
This was interesting, and uplifting as the changes in your MC and her thinking were obvious. It does show that even when life is hard, it can be turned to good if we let God into the picture.
Myrna Noyes07/12/12
Very uplifting story with a great message of hope in Christ, despite the life mistakes that are made!

I do think it was off-topic, though. As I read I wondered when the actual picnic was going to come into things!

I especially loved your wording in the first and last lines. Good writing! :)
Noel Mitaxa 07/13/12
Very encouraging and credible story, which could be even more engaging with some extra sights and sounds behind the words.
C D Swanson 07/13/12
I found this entertaining while providing a powerful message. It was well written and well told. Good job.

Thank you.

God bless~
Danielle King 07/16/12
A lovely, credible story with a good ending. I think it could be improved by showing, not telling but otherwise it was a good read and a different take on the topic.
Leola Ogle 07/16/12
I can definitely relate to the MC in this story, even the part where she wished he would hit her sometimes instead of the criticism and stinging words. You would definitely have to have lived through this to understand that feeling. But unfortuntaely mine didn't have the happy ending of this story. (but I am VERY happy now). This was so well written, it gave me goosebumps. God bless!
Hiram Claudio07/18/12
I really enjoyed this story and the message it brings for us all. This was well written, flowed without effort and left you with a nice feeling at the end that made you think. Well done!