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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: End (02/13/06)

TITLE: Amen is not the End
By david grant


I used to leave him standing there alone after my Amen, in the garden among the dewy roses, with a heart full of the joy we shared that none other will ever know.

Funny, he never waived good bye from the other side of the locked gate. He just watched me walk back in to the world, and sighed. He was always there when I returned, however, and always happy to see me, so I never entertained a second thought about his feelings.

Then one crisp spring morning, after an extremely hard night, he shocked me. Most words that morning were mine. I talked and whined from the American Beauties to the Marie De Blois. I complained louder than the falling waters in the fountain. I bared my soul under every vine covered arch and on the path through the mums and chrysanthemums.

By the time we got the gate on the other side of the garden I had nothing left, except the dread of another impossible day. My emotional balloon was empty and I should have felt better, but I didn’t.

That’s when he said it.
“Abide with me.”
“What? Abide with you??
“Abide with me.”
“I can’t stay here with you. I have to go to work. People depend upon me. I have responsibilities. Listen, I absolutely adore being with you, but I have a life to live outside this garden.”
I expected him to look disappointed, but he just smiled at me, like he expected me to “get it” at any moment. He laid a nail-scared hand on my shoulder and looked me in the eyes, and I got it.

“Oh! You want to come with me! Well, that’s a great idea, but really I don’t know if you’d enjoy some of the things I have to do, and some of the people I have to work with.”

Again he said
“Abide with me.”

I could tell there would be no arguing with him, and we were already at the gate. So, I swung the thing wide and said, “Let’s go then. It’ll be an adventure!”

We rode the bus together, and he helped me with my work and to bless my boss and fellow workers. When we got home he sat with me and my family and laughed over our dinner conversations. Bedtimes were much easier, and bath times were a bit warmer with him around too. I think he was still there when I nodded off on the couch, but I had to look for him in the Garden the next day.

“Why did you go?” I asked him.

He told me how he loved abiding with me everywhere I went, and even wanted to do it again every day, but that didn’t mean he wanted to give up our private place. There were things he wanted to disclose to me, private things. He wanted to tell me I was his own, and that could be a little embarrassing for me anywhere else but in The Garden.

He also liked calling me, and then seeing me show up to walk and talk with him alone.

We continued walking together in The Garden every day, but it didn’t end there. From then on Amen was a different word to me. It was not a period ending my prayers, but an agreement and a unity that spurred on our walking and brought power to our planning, performing, and learning.

Instead of locking him behind the gate Amen cut the bolt and tossed it in to the bushes. It released us into a deeper, minute by minute, walking and talking relationship.

We still love dewy roses, but now we occasionally take a few Marie De Blois with us to share through out our day.

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This article has been read 1323 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 02/21/06
This is SO good - all I can say is thank you.
Phyllis Inniss02/22/06
This is so different, very creative. Thanks for sharing.
Cheryl Harrison02/23/06
This is beautiful. I don't feel equipped enough to critique style or grammar in anyone's writing, so I won't go there. However, I want to encourage you in another way. God really spoke to me through these words. Challenge winner or not, these words encourage the heart. Thanks for posting.
Linda Watson Owen02/23/06
So much truth in a poetic picture of Christ's relationship with us! His gentle, unrelenting love and concern are shown beautifully. So well written! Great piece!!
Kate Wells02/23/06
This is so beautiful. My favorite hymn...He walks and talks with me in that intimate garden. And then we "hang out" all day. You did a great job. I loved this!
Venice Kichura02/23/06
This ministered to me!
Anita Neuman02/23/06
I really love the analogy you've given us. What a great picture! There are a few tiny technical errors: waved, not waived; mums and chrysanthemums are the same thing; and you should put extra spaces in the dialogue (start a new paragraph whenever someone else speaks). Overall, this was a beautiful, thought-provoking piece and you are to be highly congratulated!
Amy Michelle Wiley 02/23/06
Virginia Gorg02/23/06
Wow. This is so moving. We must take Him everywhere we go, yet allow Him to speak to us in those quiet places. Thank you for writing this. I "got it!"
James Clem 02/23/06
This was excellent! Powerful, powerful message.
Anita pointed out some spelling errors... add scarred (2R's) to the list. They detract, Dave.
"We still need a private place." Very nice!
Pat Guy 02/23/06
A beautiful picture you painted here of our relationship 'with Him' and Him 'with us.' Well done on this perspective!
Jan Ackerson 02/23/06
Very nice, and I enjoyed the subtle references to two lovely old hymns, as well.
Sandra Petersen 02/24/06
You took one of my favorite hymns and brought it to new life for me! How wonderful your insights were! I liked these sentences: "From then on Amen was a different word to me. It was not a period ending my prayers, but an agreement and a unity that spurred on our walking and brought power to our planning, performing, and learning." and "Instead of locking him behind the gate Amen cut the bolt and tossed it in to the bushes." There were a few mispelled words: "waived" should be "waved", "nail-scared" should be "nail-scarred", "in to" is "into", and "good bye" should be "goodbye". Those things aside, your article restates what I know in my mind but sometimes have difficulty remembering at all times: Jesus is right there beside me all the time and I can choose to ignore His Presence or allow His Presence to guide my decisions, conversations,entertainment choices, and ministry. Thanks for sharing this article!
Jessica Schmit02/24/06

This is amazing. Seriously it..it's awesome. I don't even know what to say. I love how your theology was dead on. You didn't sugar coat anything. You wrote so clearly. Any Christian can identify with this article. I truly love this.It's beautiful. I think this will place.
Suzanne R02/27/06
This is just beautiful.

Congratulations on placing in the challenge!
Kris St. James02/27/06
Dave, great story with a good lesson. Two things: Mums are Chrysanthemums, so that sounded a bit awkward. Also, there should be a period between "Gate" and "Amen". Great job!
Helen Paynter03/01/06
Thank you for this inspiring piece of writing
Deborah Porter 04/23/06
Hi David.

I'm just preparing all the winning entries for inclusion in the FaithWriters' Anthology for last quarter, and need to get a short bio note from you (written in the third person), to include with our "Meet Our Authors" section. If you are at all unsure what to write, it may be worth checking some of the bio notes at the end of the articles at FaithWriters' Magazine (http://www.faithwritersmagazine.com). Once you have your bio note ready, could you please send it through to me at debporter@breathfreshair.org

Thanks for that. Look forward to hearing from you.

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator and Editor, FaithWriters' Magazine)
Joanne Sher 12/31/06
Brother Dave - I just finished reading "Inspiration at Your Fingertips," and wanted you to know how much this piece completely and totally blessed me. It was probably one of my alltime favorites from the entire anthology. It definitely gave me a new perspective on prayer in a wonderful format. Thanks, friend!