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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Hunger (11/08/04)

TITLE: Everything and Nothing
By Debbie OConnor


The old rocking chair squeaked rhythmically as Emily’s head bobbed against Anna’s shoulder. "Asleep at last," Anna thought. Emily had been battling an ear infection for two straight weeks. It was improving, but Anna had barely left the small apartment in all that time.

Anna squirmed in the chair, trying to get comfortable. She wanted to make sure Emily was really out before she put her to bed. "I wish John would come home," she thought, even though she knew it would be hours yet. It was too late to call anyone, and it was unlikely Emily would be well enough to go to church tomorrow. She sighed and reached for her Bible.

She turned to a familiar passage in Psalms, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD.” It was the cry of her heart.

“Dear Father,” she prayed quietly, “please heal my baby. I want her well and I want to come to church in the morning. I miss you, I miss church and I miss my friends.”

Anna rocked a while longer. Finally, she laid Emily in her crib and went to the kitchen and began listlessly loading the dishwasher. As she worked she reflected on the changes that had recently taken place in her life.

Just three years earlier, Anna had been one of the leaders of a locally popular Christian single’s ministry. The core group led a weekly Bible study, coordinated service projects, hosted monthly socials and published a newsletter together. Most of the leaders attended the same church where they were active in other ministries as well. Anna’s whole life was about serving God alongside her friends and she was very happy. The only things she still wanted were a husband and children.

That very year Anna began dating her friend, John, who was also part of the single’s ministry. They rapidly became engaged and married several months later. Within the first year of their marriage, Anna became pregnant. She and John were delighted, but Anna was amazed at how marriage and pregnancy dominated her life. She loved God as much as ever, but there were so many things to do.

Anna and John’s relationship began well. They prayed and read the Bible together daily. John was a worship leader, and Anna often told people that she and John fell in love as they sang love songs to God together. After Anna became pregnant, John gradually became more focused on providing for their family financially. He worked hard, came home tired and their prayer and worship time declined. Anna’s pregnancy was difficult. She was often to ill to work or attend church. Once Emily came they were so busy caring for their child that even their individual devotions suffered.

At the same time several of Anna’s closest friends were also getting married and starting families. The fellowship that was such an integral part of her walk with God was disrupted.

Anna was desperate. She couldn’t remember a time since she had met Christ when she felt so hungry for fellowship. She was angry with herself. She had been given everything she wanted and still she felt empty.

She stopped loading the dishwasher and picked up her Bible. She turned to Psalms again, crying as she read, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night…These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

As Anna read the passage she felt the familiar, comforting presence of her Savior. She got on her knees and began to worship. “Oh Lord,” she prayed. “I love you so much. You are all I need. You truly are the ‘bread of life.’” Filled with joy, Anna’s tears turned to laughter. She got up and turned on the stereo. She sang love songs to God as she filled her dishwasher.

(Ps 84:1-2a; Ps 42:2-5, Jn 6:48 NIV)

Member Comments
Member Date
Corinne Smelker 11/15/04
A good commentary on how things change with the advent of family life. I have been there on many occasions. Thanks for sharing it so poignantly with us.
Lucian Thompson11/16/04
Okay, Debbie, you made me cry. I have been there and I believe most Christians have. How we need to come back to the One who loved us before we were born. To worship Him and sing the old love songs to Him. Great job, girl.
Karri Compton11/16/04
This sounds so similar to what my life was like a few years ago, Worship Pastor's wife and all! God bless you,Karri
Verlie Ruhl11/17/04
Debbie, you did a great job of capturing the struggle of those early days in parenthood. Your story is a great reminder that we don't have to "go" worship Him--he's already where we are.
John Hunt11/17/04
I think we can all relate to the business that comes with having a family. We should all take extra effort not to let our spiritual life laps.
Very nicely communicated in your article.
Good job!
Betty Shattuck11/18/04
Nicely written article of a place most of us mothers experience. Worship, thank God, is done from the heart - not just at church - and can be done anywhere we are - in the shower, vacuuming, driving the car, etc., etc. Worship on the go! However, when life allows, take the time to focus solely on your time alone with God because that time is precious. I enjoyed and well remember the experience you wrote about. Keep writing!
Diane Johnson11/18/04
Your story is a wonderful and beautiful expression of our longing and hunger for more of Christ. Thankfully we can drop to our knees at any given moment to reconnect and worship Him.
Mitzi Busby11/18/04
Deb, the mama's have been there. We know that feeling well. Thanks for sharing your story. Great entry.
Rita Garcia11/18/04
Debbie, Great Writing, the message came through strong, Blessings, Rita
Deborah Anderson11/19/04
Great job, Debbie. God bless you.
Lois Jennison Tribble11/19/04
Good story for use with singles, Debbie, to remind them of the blessings of being single and the frustrations that accompany marriage. You might consider using a more active voice in the writing, letting Anna reveal her thoughts (showing) instead of telling them. I love the way you integrated Scripture, weaving it smoothly into the texture of the story. Well done!
Lynda Lee Schab 11/20/04
How true that everyday distractions (even marriage!) get in the way of our fellowship with God. No wonder Paul said it's better to remain single! LOL
Thanks for posting this. It brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart.
Blessings, Lynda