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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Exams (07/26/04)

TITLE: Life Exams
By D.Lynn Bates


“Stupid girl! Stupid girl!” Belinda had heard it all of her life. Her father was an abusive alcoholic. She figured that somehow it was her fault that he beat her and verbally abused her. His drinking binges sometimes lasted for weeks on end. And she could always tell when one was coming, so she tried to stay out of his way. She would hide in the darkest, scariest part of the house, the basement. She knew that he would not venture down there when he was drunk because he had stumbled down the stairs once and almost killed himself.

Even though he had called her an idiot most of her childhood, and she had believed him, Belinda had proven that she wasn’t stupid. She worked hard and finished high school. She had gotten a job and gone to college. She had a deep and burning desire to prove to her dad and herself that she wasn’t stupid, that she could do something worthwhile with her life. And she had a driving passion to help kids in similar situations to hers.

She got a job in a tent factory and worked eight to ten hours a day, saving every penny to put herself through college, knowing that it might take her years to complete it. She graduated in the top 5% of her class with a PHD in Sociology. It took her twelve years, and over and over her faith was tested, but she developed perseverance.

Belinda now works with cast-away kids like herself. Many of them have chosen a harder path to follow than she did, skipping school and butting against authority. Many have low or no self-esteem, no positive role models, and no reason to strive for a better life, or even believe that one is possible. So they turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, you name it.

God has given Belinda a vast amount of compassion and love, which she showers on these kids. Sometimes it comes easy, but many of them are unreachable and can only be handled with prayer. And these are the ones; though they may be the most challenging, that she loves the most.

They’ve been hateful, they’ve called her names, they’ve run away, stolen her property, gotten into fights, expelled from school, et cetera, but she doesn’t give up. These tests only make her more determined to reach them. She knows that her god given abilities are for the purpose of helping kids, and she wouldn’t be carrying out her mission if she were to give up on them. If only one of them is helped, if only one chooses the high road, if one of them comes to know the savior; then she will consider all the years of heartache, tests and turmoil pure joy.

You see, there was someone in her life who loved, encouraged, reached out to her and prayed for her as she grew up. Her grandmother never gave up on her and as a result, Belinda is able to use her life experiences and challenges to minister to those hurting kids.

Belinda was born with no legs, but her heart is so big, that the lack of legs has never been a handicap. Belinda’s perseverance is finishing its work so that she is mature and complete, not lacking anything. And God is using her ‘Life Exams’ to build his kingdom, one child at a time.

D. Lynn Bates © July 27, 2004

James 1 (NIV)
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Member Comments
Member Date
Dan Blankenship 08/02/04
D. Lynn,
Moving, touching, great.

Need I say more.

God Bless!
Dan Blankenship
Corinne Smelker 08/02/04
I agree with Dan - this is so touching, words are not enough.

Well done.
darlene hight08/02/04
Beautifully done!
Deborah Anderson08/02/04
WOW! This is what the love of Christ is all about. Thank you and God bless you.
Dori Knight08/02/04
Very inspirational story!
Dian Moore08/02/04
This is very compelling, but needs at bit of editing to flow. There are some grammar/puncutation errors and wording that detracts from the story. Overall, though, a great messaqe.
Mary Elder-Criss08/04/04
Your opening paragraph caught my attention, but it sort of waned after that. I think this is an important piece, and needs to be heard..I would have enjoyed it more ,however if it had been told in the first person by Belinda..and contained more specific examples of what she lived through, and actual dialogue with the kids she was reaching.
shirley shields08/07/04
Belindas attitude about her trials in life certainly bring Glory to the Heavenly Father. God Bless you for sharing a part of her life.