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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Discipleship (02/23/04)

TITLE: In His Steps
By Faithaline Stanislaus


I reach up and grab a piece of outcropping jutting out of the rock surface. Moving my foot slightly, I feel around until I get a firm foothold. Gradually I inch my way upwards. Finally I crest the top of the hill. My face is sweaty, my hands are blistered, my back is aching, but I give a sigh of exhilaration. I made it! Then I look up…and my elation is short-lived. I’ve got such a long way to go. However my Guide gently reminds me that He has been here before, and all I have to do is follow Him. He will lead me, and He will be along to help me every step of the way. My Guide has led me through mountains and valleys, rivers and deserts, along quiet lakes and across rich green pasture. It has definitely been an adventure, and it’s not over yet!

I remember when He began to lead me across the desert called “Humility.” I wonder what caused me to think that I knew the way well enough to make it on my own without Him. I foolishly went on ahead of Him, trudging my way across the sand dunes. The way ahead looked plain and clear to me, so how difficult could it be? I ended up getting lost in a sea of sand, until finally, disoriented and frustrated, I cried out to Him for help. I was under the impression that I had left Him miles behind, however he showed up as soon as I called. This experience taught me to lean on my Guide more, and to realize that I was never meant to travel independently of Him.

Recently we trekked through the valley of “Fear.” I was following my Guide along a dirt path through the valley, when I suddenly heard footsteps behind me. I took my eyes off my Guide and looked to the rear. I saw no one, and when I turned back my Guide was nowhere to be seen. Panic began to rise up within me, and I quickened my pace. I could still hear the footsteps behind me, and they seemed to be getting closer, however I did not see anyone when I turned back. In my mind, I began to rehearse my Guide’s faithfulness and care of me along the journey so far, and His great strength. I soon realized that He must surely be stronger than whoever was following me. I also surmised that whoever was behind me must certainly be a coward, not being brave enough to show himself. I slackened my pace until I had come to a standstill. Then I turned around, ready to face whoever was behind me. I was not going to face him alone, however. I called out to my Guide, and immediately he was at my side. As for the footsteps—I could still hear them running, except now in the opposite direction. After this episode I knew that if I ever heard the footsteps again I would not run away in a panic like I had done this time.

Yesterday we descended a mountain called “Mercy” (Lamentations 3:22-23). When we were almost to the bottom, I took my eyes off my Guide, my foot slipped and I fell. My attention was caught by a piece of broken glass sticking out of the ground. The sunlight had caught the object, causing it to glisten. My Guide lifted me up, and when I was on my two feet again, I avoided looking into His eyes. “I’m sorry, that was stupid,” I mumbled. I was sure that he was going to berate me for my foolishness. But instead, he simply looked me over to make sure I was not hurt, and then stuck even closer by me for the duration of the journey that day. Not once did he make mention of my failure.

I enjoy it most when we spend time beside the lakes. A few days ago we sat at the water’s edge and dipped our feet in a lake called “Love.” Near the lakes my Guide sings many songs over me. (Zephaniah 3:17) He promises me that He will never leave me. (Hebrews 13:5) He says that He could never forget me (Isaiah 49:15-16) and that He has always loved me. (Jeremiah 31:3) His words comfort and strengthen me for the journey ahead. I am also encouraged to trust Him more. Where he leads me, I will follow.

Member Comments
Member Date
Corinne Smelker 03/01/04
What an imaginative way of writing this topic. I LOVED this one!
Bobbye Terry03/01/04
You've got my vote. This is so creative, and, at the same time, such a statement of your journey--one we all travel in time.
Dave Wagner03/01/04
'Tis creative and nicely crafted.

Is it supposed to chronicle a journey in stages, or are all of these wanderings/climbing happening at once? I got the impression from the initial paragraph that the climb has been a long one so far, with a ways to go still...but then yesterday was the descent of mercy, and a few days ago was the lakes...is there some symbolism I'm missing, or is the jumping around an oversight of some sort? I'd like to think every word is placed by design and I'm just missing something...

But, again, I really enjoy this. It has a lot of depth. But then, I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that... :)
L.M. Lee03/02/04
His words are really our best comfort.
Faithaline Stanislaus03/02/04
Hi Dave,

I appreciate your insights and critiques.

The story was not meant to indicate stages, at least not in any particular sequence. It represents a variety of experiences.

Yesterday I might have climbed down a mountain, only to find that I have to climb another one again today. However tomorrow I may get to rest by the lakes for a day, or maybe even for three days. The journey varies, just as life's experiences. Sometimes the trials come at you one after another, and sometimes there's a period of calm. You don't get to dictate how long the trials or the period of calm lasts however.
Dave Wagner03/02/04
Sounds like you've got the makings of a good "Pilgrim's Progress" type of novel....try fleshing some of it out in story form and see what happens! You've got the insight for it...
Bonnie Baker03/04/04
I enjoyed this article and related to every aspect. Thank you!
Felesia Burgess03/05/04
I love it! Nothing else could have been so beautifully written. You definitely have my vote.
Linda Germain 03/06/04
Very creative!
Kenny Paul Clarkson03/07/04
This could be book. Call it "The Journey of Faith."

— Kenny Paul Clarkson, 1492@usa.com
Jean Ann Semple03/09/04
This is really lovely!
True, it seems expandable! I look forward to reading the expanded version.
God bless!