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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Ow! (01/07/10)

TITLE: Fever Blister Frenzy
By Catrina Bradley


My resume was all spiffed up. I had a cover letter prepared explaining my faith-step from the corporate world into the ministry, and I had a reference letter from my previous employer supporting my decision and singing my praises. After four months of "waiting on the Lord," I was sure my wait was over. The position the Lord had prepared for me was knocking at the door. All I had to do was deliver my resume to the church office the next morning.

Then I felt it...that familiar tingle on my lip. The tingle turned into an itch, the itch into a sting, and when the alarm woke me the next morning, a good-sized bump had risen. At noon it was painful to the touch and had doubled in size, and by three o'clock a juicy, green gooseberry was attached to my lip.

Herpes simplex virus type 1.

More commonly known as a cold sore, or a fever blister.

How could I face my prospective employer with this monstrosity hanging off my mouth? By the time my husband came home at 3:30, I had worked myself into a frenzy and I sobbed on his generous shoulder. Bless his heart; Bill has survived 20 years of my cold sore craziness. He caressed and consoled me, carefully avoiding facial contact, and offered to deliver the application for me.

Seriously, bless his heart.

Cold sores that develop on the outside are not only painful, they're ugly and embarrassing. The emotional pain is as bad as the physical pain. The world stares at that hideous grown, and friends offer compassion while averting their eyes. When the blister forms a weeping scab, people know, and some console you. When the scab rubs off and the sore reopens, people notice and you are offered advice. And finally, when only a pink scar mars your lip, people see that too, and rejoice with you in your healing.

Despite these benefits of outer cold sores, I prefer the blisters that grow on the inside, hidden from the world, my nasty little secret. No one need see my ugliness and know I'm suffering. Ah, but the pain of a hidden pustule is ever so much more severe. In the moist darkness of its lair, the sore festers and is slow to heal. It's a constant pain, a continual reminder of its presence.

Likewise, I have a habit of preferring my sin infestations to stay hidden. I allow them to fester in the confines of my soul, a constant spike in my heart. The battle for spiritual healing rages inside, while I smile pretty and play the good Christian on the outside, pretending nothing is wrong.

Might it be better if I quit suffering in silence and loose my monstrosities from where I hide them away? The humiliation of revealing my sins may not be as excruciating as I fear.

After all, James tells us to confess to one another, to let others know we are infected with sin. Only then can our brothers and sisters in Christ fellowship with us in our sorrow, pray for us, and speed our healing. And finally, when all that remains of our sin is a scar, we can be an example to the world of the power of prayer and the restoration and redemption of Christ.

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." James 5:16, NASB

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This article has been read 1015 times
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Laury Hubrich 01/15/10
This is a great devotional. Good job.
Dee Yoder 01/17/10
What I love about this devotional is the advice to be honest about our sins to one another. We don't need to spill our guts each time we meet, but nothing opens up discussion and healing more than ONE brave soul willing to be honest about the inside sins that no one else sees. It allows us all to say, "Yes, amen! I know that sin, too." Healing is definitely more desired than a festering wound. You should look for a place to submit this one!
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/18/10
Your devotional here is excellent. The fever-blister analogy to hidden sin is perfectly done. Your Christian humility shines.
Colin Swann01/18/10
This is absolutely supurb! Got to be a winner - for me it is - so there!
Barbara Lynn Culler01/18/10
Very graphic analogy! So, did you get the job???
Kimberly Russell01/18/10
You had me hooked right from the start as I can sooo relate. As a child, I was absolutely plagued with cold sores so I felt every single thing you described. Don't get them as much as an adult but all those feelings come rushing right back. Terrific job, Cat.
Chely Roach01/18/10
What a poignant analogy, Cat. I love the transparency of your heart that shone through here. Makes me want to give ya a big hug:) Wonderful writing...
Sarah Elisabeth 01/19/10
I really liked this. Being plagued since mid teens with severe acne, I can doubly relate to your MC's feelings...but I try to remind myself to focus on the inside sores, where true beauty/ugliness comes from.

The only thing I had with this was, I was left a bit hanging at the end. Did she get the job or was she rushing the Lord's timing? I understand that wasn't the focus of the story in the end, but I was curious ;-)

Thanks for this wonderful piece!
Virgil Youngblood 01/19/10
Great devotional. Feaver blisters, I've learned, are an indication of internal stress. Taking Acidolphilus at first sign works promptly to eliminate or reduce the severity. Scripture works the same way to eliminate sin in our life.
Carole Robishaw 01/20/10
Very hard to read, not because of the writing--that was very good--but because of the way I could relate to hiding my sin, and allowing it to fester. It's very hard to open up when we fear peoples reactions.
Ruth Brown01/20/10
Very good piece. I find it easier to know that all have sinned and fallen short of God,then confessing that we have sinned should suffice, without revealing the ugliness of the sore. Only the Father can heal it.
I hope she got the job!
Carol Penhorwood 01/20/10
Outstanding devotional piece and true transparency that will touch many lives, mine included! A job well done!
Carol Slider 01/20/10
Great job using your own experience as the starting point for this well-written devotional. (And have you ever noticed how cold sores always appear at times when you really NEED to look your best?) Well done.
Edmond Ng 01/21/10
Good devotional!
Tim George01/21/10
Great devotional thought Cat. If only we all could be so honest.
George Parler 01/26/10
Good job, Cat. A great message in this devotional.
Suzanne R01/28/10
Very practical and immediately relevant. You had your readers right there with you, and didn't lose us when you got to the more 'preachy' part. Well done.
Loren T. Lowery02/19/10
I could certainly feel the "Ow" factor here - it blistered the soul. The open, frank honesty was refreshing. This illustrates how, so often, we only look to see the outside of what others are willing to show us. Yet, if we do as Christ asks, and truly love our brothers and sisters, then we go past the facade and see the suffering soul beneath. This strikes a chord of truth on many, many levels. Great job!