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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Life (06/15/06)

TITLE: Minivan Messages
By Carla Feagans


“Now, where did I park my car this time?” Shelly mumbled to herself as she scanned the parking lot.

Finding her gold minivan, unmistakably hers with its dented rear bumper, she trudged toward it, grocery bags in tow. As she slid the heavy door open, a whiff of something unidentifiable yet definitely unpleasant blasted her nostrils. Ugh! she thought. Oh, this is so gross. She used to raise an eyebrow in wonder and disgust at the other moms’ she’d known back in her working days, positive she’d never keep her car in such a condition. Funny how everything changes once you have your own kids.

When am I going to find time to clean out this van? Shelly mentally added that task to the long list of must-dos already tumbling around in her brain.

As she pulled out of the parking lot, Shelly grimaced, trying to decide which errand to run next. She only had 45 minutes before she had to pick up the kids, and she had three different places and seven different tasks she needed to accomplish. “Power shopping” was another concept she’d never truly understood before kids.

Signaling left, Shelly pointed her car toward the party supply store to pick up the balloons and streamers for Megan’s birthday party next week. With five kids, it seemed like every time she turned around she was preparing for some sort of holiday or party. And that was on top of the day-to-day living that she had to orchestrate for each family member. Life overwhelmed her daily, sometimes hourly, and she often dreamed of the time she might have to herself once again after all the kids were grown and gone. As soon as she’d think it, she’d feel guilty, knowing how much she’d wanted children and how much she really did love and cherish them. But sometimes the idea of kids and a family and the reality were far different than she’d imagined. No one ever warned her it would be this hard. It wasn’t the actual activities and duties that were hard, it was just the sheer number of them. Focusing on everything she had to do each day for too long was enough to bring her to her knees, zapping the little bits of strength and energy she had left.

As Shelly eased her car into a parking space, an obnoxious commercial blared through her radio speakers. Yuck! she thought, quickly turning the dial. A woman’s voice, clear and sweet, was speaking, something about Jesus. Shelly reached for the dial again, not wanting to be reminded of yet another area in her life in which she was failing, but instead paused mid-reach. Okay, God, she thought. I have so much to do, but I know I need to make you a priority. I’ll listen for one minute, but that’s really more than I have to spare. As she was thinking this, the woman’s voice continued.

“God doesn’t want you to do it alone. He wants you to let Him be in control.”

Oh, I know, Shelly’s shoulders sank heavily. But is He gonna run all these errands for me? How am I supposed to just stop doing all this doing for all these kids?

The voice on the radio interrupted her thoughts. “The Holy Spirit brings order to your chaos. He can bring you calm in the middle of your storm. You don’t have to wait for a peaceful moment, it’s in the midst of your struggles that He brings peace.”

Sure, that’s fine for people with big problems or life and death situations, but He doesn’t care if I get party supplies or juice boxes, she thought wryly. She grabbed her purse and started to turn the ignition off.

“Even in your daily life, when life is hectic,” the voice said. “Even if you have five kids, the Holy Spirit can bring order to any situation.”

Shelly’s spine straightened as she released her grasp on the keys. Oh Lord, you are so good! she prayed. How could I have doubted you? Why was I trying to make you so small? Thank you for sending me this message today.

Instead of turning off her car, Shelly continued to listen and to pray. Five minutes later, she headed into the party store, her thoughts clear, her mind focused, knowing exactly what she needed to do today, what could wait until tomorrow, and what she needed most.

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This article has been read 730 times
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Jan Ackerson 06/22/06
I've had a similar thing happen, when a "voice on the radio" seemed to be speaking exactly to me. Good job!
Rita Garcia06/25/06
God knows how to reach out, even through the radio. Well written, very realistic!
T. F. Chezum06/25/06
I like this story, I don't know why it only has one comment ... ummm, two counting mine ;-)

Good job.
Sherry Wendling06/26/06
I really like this! You made my heart go out to busy moms...And descriptively captured the sense of 'overload,' along with the blessed relief of plugging into His power!

Your fifth paragraph is where I suggest you concentrate. Although it's well-written, the pace can be wonderfully picked up with more 'showing' rather than the explanatory background you gave. You could use a conversation, or series of events as they actually happen, to keep the action flowing.

Have fun with it, and be encouraged--you're doing great!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz06/26/06
Excellent. Oh, how I can relate to these words. Good job.
Virginia Gorg06/26/06
A voice on the radio was instrumental in my finding Christ - in the choas, He is the only calm and peace. Thanks for writing this well-done article.
Venice Kichura06/26/06
Very realistic entry about the life of a busy mom and how the Holy Spirit can bring balance & calm to her hectic life.

Good job!
Shari Armstrong 06/26/06
Thanks - we all needed that! Amazing how life can get in the way of living.
Jan Ross06/26/06
So real -- I was right there in the minivan struggling to sit still and listen to the voice of God speak. Good job! :)
Debbie Sickler06/26/06
My minivan is silver, not gold, but you got the smell right. ;P And I've only got three kids, though if I try to take them anywhere, it easily feels like five. You've really captured the feelings of this overtired mom and I've read this just at the right time. Thanks so much for writing this. :)
Trina Courtenay06/27/06
Thanks for sharing & reminding me that there are other's out there run around in circles and somedays feel they don't have enough time for God but in reality if only we made time for Him our day would be so much smoooother.


FYI I'm a mother of two & have 3 step children, no minivan...boys go in dads truck girls go with mom. Oh how I can relate.
Garnet Miller 06/27/06
How did you jump into my life?! A similar situation happened to me yesterday. I was feeling crushed under the weight of worry and I tearfully asked my husband to pray for me. While I was at work, I felt the Lord lift my burden and replace it with His peace. I had never felt anything like it. My day ended up infinitely better than it started out. Great article.