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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Personal Peace (06/01/06)

By Carol Sanford



“How many times have I hit that snooze button?” I wondered, as I groggily lifted myself to an upright position. The number was irrelevant because it was definitely “time to rise and shine” as my mother would say. Getting out of bed, I thought of her again. Could it possibly be almost seven years since she died?

Minutes later, sipping coffee and reading the newspaper, I noticed a small headline: “Consolidated Savings & Loan Closing Its Doors.” I remembered that Mom still had an account there. “I guess I should call Mr. Williams,” I thought. At once, I realized that if the attorney was as slow with this as he was settling the rest of the estate, the money would be forever floating in the ozone. I decided it was best to handle the matter myself. A few hours later, I called the bank and was amazed at the ease with which I was able to conduct the transaction.

In about two weeks, a check for over six thousand dollars arrived payable to me even though it actually belonged to my older brother. I deposited the full sum into my savings account, brushing aside the guilty feelings that tugged at my heart. I had a right, as the executrix, to choose the best way to disperse the money. I was the more deserving child; always there when Mom needed me. Besides, I reasoned, I could always send it to him later.

Months passed. My husband, son, and I wanted to take a vacation. We flew across the country to visit this same sibling and his family. Having a brainstorm, I figured we could use my brother’s money to finance the trip. It was perfect. I believed my mother would be pleased if she knew.

We all had a memorable time together. My brother was delighted that we came. After all, it was quite an expensive excursion. I smiled and assured him it was no problem at all.

Summer days waned. A bright brisk autumn followed. Occasionally, I thought about the bank account, and continued to disregard my nagging conscience. I forgot about it completely as festivities of the Christmas season gave way to a harsh, frigid winter and the sudden death of my brother’s wife.

Once more, we boarded a plane bound for the west coast; this time to attend my sister- in-law’s memorial service. My brother appreciated our presence. Telling myself it was God’s provision, I used his money to pay our expenses.

Time continued. I was busy with my family, working outside the home, and serving in the church. Outwardly, all was well. However, I noticed myself often contemplating the situation, even waking up in the middle of the night. Like a ship refusing to leave port, my thoughts were anchored on my brother and his money. I knew what I could do. I would send him a check for the full amount minus the two trips. That should cover it.

However, I did nothing…

Instead, I focused my energy on a Bible study about yielding everything to God. The topic was appealing, promising a closer walk with Jesus Christ. This was exactly what I desired. One morning, ready to begin the first lesson, I settled myself comfortably in my favorite living room chair. The initial step was for me to honestly search my heart to discover if there was anything I was keeping back from the Lord, any hindrance in my walk with Him. I started to pray. Conviction nudged me in a whisper. Paying no attention, I continued. The murmur within became louder with a force I couldn’t define. Still I pressed on. In moments, the noise became blaring…roaring…deafening…

“Lord, I’m sorry,” I cried out. “I’ll pay it all back!”

Immediately, my soul was silenced. Welcome quietness pervaded the room. Relief washed over me. A calm I hadn’t known in months encompassed me…a peace that comes only through surrender and obedience…

I mailed his check the same day.

A week later, my brother called to thank me for his unexpected windfall. It had come at just the right time. I smiled into the phone and said softly, “No problem at all.”

“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 NIV

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This article has been read 935 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Lee Schab 06/08/06
If this is true, I applaud you for doing the right thing! Isn't it amazing how when we yield to Christ and satisfy our conscience, peace comes almost instantaneously. Wonderful entry - I'm sure it will strike a chord with many. It did with me. :-)
Helen Paynter06/09/06
It struck a chord here, too, times when I've held out on God, trying to stifle the murmur of conscience - and failing. Good writing.
Marty Wellington 06/10/06
Terrific message; something we all struggle with from time to time is being honest with ourselves. Nice flow; kept my attention throughout.
Rachel Rudd 06/11/06
I was drawn to read it by the title. It kept my attention as well. Thank you for this reminder of total surrender.
Suzanne R06/12/06
I loved the illustration about the ship on the waves and the anchor etc. This is a lovely testimony ... but I wonder if you'll let your brother read it?! (If it is true, that is.)
Jan Ackerson 07/27/06
Very well-written story; I can't imagine how I missed it the first time through. Look for this to appear in the Front Page Showcase for the week of August 21. I'll look forward to reading more of your writing.
Phyllis Inniss08/22/06
Great entry and great writing skills. I didn't bother to read it when I first saw it posted, then something made me do so and I'm really glad. We pray and God tells us what to do. If we do it we are released from all guilt and shame.
terri tiffany08/22/06
Great writing and great story! I enjoyed it very much.