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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Winter (11/14/05)

TITLE: Accept and Expect
By Beth Muehlhausen


Accept and Expect

As I trudged down the slope toward the lake, a stiff blast of frigid air threw frozen needles into my face. I brushed away the stinging snow, pulled the fleece scarf higher around my cheeks, and braced myself against the assault.

An icy expanse lay before me like a sheet of slate covered with snowy chalk dust. Previously playful waves were now smothered by stark lifelessness. Winter had left its mark on the lake.

I could identify; I, too felt dormant and stuck. Not long ago my heart raced with anticipation - but now disappointment clouded its vision for the future. The lake stared at me like a giant opalescent, glazed eyeball and I squinted back at it, wondering how to process my emotions.

Even as I dodged the pelting sleet by hiding behind a stack of pier sections, a warm peach glow emerged in the sky to steal my attention. The sun, preparing to drop out of sight, hung over the barren trees marching along the opposite shoreline. I brushed snow from a spot on the steps and sat down, hunched against the wind. to watch.

“There is a message of hope over there in the sky, Lord,” I said, “and it’s from You. I’m not leaving here until I understand it.”

The gold ball sunk lower and lower until a fiery red blaze emerged from behind it to bleed along the tips of the trees. Within a few minutes, puffs of lavender also billowed out to the north and south, pushing pinks and oranges before them and forcing the palette to ooze across the sky as if stroked by a giant paintbrush.

The day was coming to a close, and the lake remained frozen and immobile before me. My eyelashes were laden with frost, and my toes felt numb in my boots. And yet, I waited.

“As night falls, this is a place that mirrors your heart as you shrink against the cold. And yet you are here intentionally; I don’t make mistakes. Accept the realities; accept your soul’s winter chill. Embrace it honestly, and then live expectantly while trusting Me to give you strength.

“See the sky? The sunset is a message of hope that dawn will follow. I am a God of life; I will resurrect the frozen lake, and your frozen heart. Trust me, just as you trust the sun to reappear in tomorrow’s sunrise.”

The sunset was a promise that dawn would come, that days would progress, that warmer, softer breezes would return. I rose and headed back toward the warm house, grateful for my pounding heart and heavy breathing as I labored through the deep snow. I was willing to trust God to show me what it meant to engage with life rather than retreat. And I remembered something I’d forgotten: there is a time for all seasons, even winter.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Nina Phillips11/22/05
Beautiful story. Well written. I enjoyed it so much, and the message of hope it surrendered. God bless ya, littlelight
Helga Doermer11/22/05
This story brought to mind the most exquisite winter sunset I have ever seen. For each of us it holds a different message. Thank you for sharing yours.
Shannon Redmon11/23/05
Great description of nature. Was right there with ya cold toes and all!
Venice Kichura11/23/05
very heartwarming & nicely written
Pat Guy 11/25/05
How did I know this was yours dear Beth when I read before! Just figured I'd get back to it when I was sure! Beautiful as always with a beautiful meesage of hope! (as always!) I liked the pounding heart and heavy breathing (otherwise known as 'huffing and puffing! :) ) I could just see it! :) Love, Pat
Laurie Glass 11/25/05
Great descriptions - of both nature and the inner struggle. A soul patiently waiting for God and receiving hope - beautiful.
Julianne Jones11/25/05
Beautifully told and a great reminder that winter will not last forever. Well done.
Shari Armstrong 11/26/05
Very very good! Amazing visual images!
Debbie Sickler11/28/05
I loved your descriptions. Each word perfectly picked to create a beautiful picture of the setting sun. Great job.
Betsy Tacchella02/19/06
I appreciate your vulnerability in your writing. You write with excellence, Beth, and have a gift for pulling the reader into the emotion of the moment.