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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fulfillment (04/06/06)

TITLE: Open Meadows
By Sharon Singley


Jennifer thought that by this point in her life she should have accomplished all of the goals that she had set for herself. Her life should be picture perfect by now. But it was far from that.

She had been evicted from her little home in the projects. Today was her final day before the marshal’s would lock her out, so she had no choice but to pack up her whole world yet again, all of which could be contained in two ten by twelve rooms.

While completing this arduous task she happened upon her old journal, faded and covered in dust. She held timidly the little notebook containing her childhood dreams. Dreams that she had penned back when she was eighteen years old, a fresh young high school graduate out to conquer the world. When time was still an open meadow lying before her, begging her to run with abandon through her future. She was supposed to have a successful career, a wonderful marriage, two beautiful children, a home in New Hampshire, and a bank account that was overflowing with available funds.

As she cleaned the bedroom of her tiny house in the slums of Los Angeles, she cried with open abandon. After all, who was there to see her? Her last boyfriend walked out on her, like all the others before. Her kids were taken away from her by child protective services because of her drug use. She hated the system for taking them, but she knew in her heart that it was best. They were adopted by a loving family and living pretty well, last she heard. Good for them.

Jennifer wiped her tears with her dirty sleeve. ‘Okay Jen. Stop acting like a baby. You have to get through this!’ But as she looked out of her filthy bedroom window to the urban jungle outside, she could not contain the tears.

“How did I let this happen? How did I allow myself to be seduced by the lie”?

Jennifer remembered the exact moment when it all began to fall apart. She had been a single mother of two young children, working two jobs trying to make ends meet. Her night job was that of a cocktail waitress at a local club. One night she was complaining to her co-worker about how exhausted she was, working two jobs, raising two kids, when her co-worker said, “Jenny, this is ridiculous! I’ve told you before, you only need to do some dancing a couple nights a week, and you would make enough money to fulfill all your dreams! Honest!”

Jennifer started dancing. It was dirty, it was ugly, and she felt like a whore. But she did make money. Lots of it. Pretty soon she was making enough money that she and her kids moved into a brand new home, had a new car and all of the material things they could need. All of her financial dreams had been fulfilled!

But inside, Jennifer felt shame and disgust. She felt like a tramp. That’s when she began using. Just a little to begin with, just enough to take the edge off and keep herself in a state of euphoria.

It did not take very long, though, for the use to become abuse. And in two short years she had lost everything, including her children.

As she sat in her apartment, wallowing in self hatred and self pity, she glanced down one more time at her time-aged journal. There before her were the words that she had forgotten so long ago.

“He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. Psalms 145:19”

She then remembered. She had written that down as a reminder to herself that God is her source, her fulfillment. How did she forget?

In pain and in remorse, Jennifer bowed down to the One she had forgotten and begged to be restored. Through her tears and her sorrow, she felt a peace softly enveloping her. She felt the hand of the Most High soothing her troubled mind and heart, erasing the sins that had entwined themselves around the seed He had planted years before.

Jennifer knew she would not return. She would not go back. She would admit herself into a hospital and get the help that she needed. She lovingly placed the old journal in her backpack.

The future was once again an open meadow.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Pat Guy 04/13/06
This almost reads like a fairy tale. One that takes the MC from rags to riches yet it makes the message of hope all the clearer - the direction unmistakable. Good job on this!
Jan Ackerson 04/14/06
This is very tenderly written, and I especially love the 3rd-from-the-last paragraph--beautiful imagery. Watch out for apostrophe usage (marshals). Lovely story of redemption.
Shannon Redmon04/15/06
Well written and so hopeful! Good job!
Beth Muehlhausen04/17/06
A poignant tale of redemption.

I had to think of the Proverb - train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. The God of her youth rescued her - hallelujah!