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

TITLE: Exams of the Heart
By WENDY DECKER
07/30/04

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The day I’d been avoiding and dreading all summer long had finally arrived. It was time to clean out the garage.

Every summer my husband drags the entire contents of our garage out onto the driveway and sorts through it all with the hopes of eliminating as much stuff as possible. He gets all revved up to tackle the project and starts making statements like “what about this— how ‘bout that— you’re not still gonna keep this— are you?"

I usually reply, “Oh, no— don’t throw that out! No— please— not those— I definitely still need that—" and so on and so on.

However, this time my husband was taking charge and not taking any of my excuses.

“We’re getting rid of this stuff once and for all,” he adamantly stated. “If we haven’t used it in five years, we’re never going to use it!”

“O…kay,” I replied like a little kid being forced to give up my blanky.

I reached into each and every cobweb-filled box and sifted through papers, books and old letters. There were old drawings the kids had made, old check-stubs and receipts to items I no longer owned. Box after box we categorized what was staying and what was not.

Just as I was finally able to see the floor of the garage I pulled out an old Tupperware container. At the bottom of the container, I found a black binder with the title, “Feelings in Rhyme” written across the front of it. I hadn’t come upon this box in previous garage-cleaning years. It must have been almost twenty years-old. Mmmm, this should be fun to look at, I thought, so I snuck the binder into the house.

The next day I pulled the binder out of the drawer I’d hid it in and traveled down the pages of memory lane. I read through each and every poem I’d written. There was some pretty funny stuff in there, but there were also some very interesting poems as well. As I continued to read I realized that during the span of time I’d started and ended this collection, I had met my Lord and Savior.

The words that satiated the pages in the beginning of the book held the desperate longing of a young woman’s search for happiness within her heart. As I read on, I witnessed the content of the book change.

It transitioned from sadness to joyful praises of the re-birth of the young woman’s heart and soul. Of course the young woman was me, but as I read it, it seemed as if I were reading about a stranger. I’d forgotten how empty my life had been before the Lord entered it.

As I continued to read each page, it revealed the transformation of my heart as it grew closer to Christ. This book of poems was my written testimony in rhyme of how Jesus saved me and how I was learning to be like him more and more each day.

He was the potter and I was the clay, and the words I’d written expressed how he molded and changed my heart the same way a teacher strives to mold the mind of a student in preparation for an exam.

I wondered to myself, would I receive a good grade if God gave me annual exams to measure my Christian growth? Was I working as hard as I could? I know as a student, I wouldn’t want to remain in the same grade year-after- year.

However, it’s very easy to become stagnant in our Christian walk, but after reading the entire contents of the binder I felt inspired to be more obedient to my Savior and work harder to become the person God intended me to be.

It was also a reminder that I can’t expect my children to learn and pass their exams if they don’t see me working hard at my studies.


Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Malley08/02/04
Wendy-

First of all, can I borrow your husband for garage cleaning??

Secondly, what a great message you "found" in your garage and delivered to us to ponder!

Thanks for sharing your wonderful words with us!

Jo
darlene hight08/02/04
This is great! Doesn't God use so many interesting things to teach us His lessons?
Lisa Beaman08/03/04
That's one of the reasons I love history. We can't know where we're going if we don't know where we've been. What a great testimony of a fulfilling relationship with God.
Phyllis Inniss 08/06/04
This is a great story of a garage cleaning pointing you back in time to your search for God. Thanks for sharing.
Deborah Anderson08/07/04
Very nice story Wendy. I really enjoyed it. Sounds like my garage? LOL Thank you so much and God bless you.