Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Brown (11/26/09)
TITLE: From Gross to Grace!
By Barbara Lynn Culler
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Mercedes Mahgannie screamed as she slammed the door and hurled her backpack to the floor. Feeling angry and hurt, she threw herself onto the couch and sobbed.
“Why are the girls in my 6th grade class so mean? They make fun of my name saying: ‘Mer-say-dees from Hay dees … Mer-say-dees from Hay dees’ … It’s so stupid! I hate them and I hate my name!”
“Mercy, what’s the matter?” Mercedes had not heard her mama come in from work.
“Oh Mama, I hate school! I never want to go back…Why did you give me such a dumb name? I hate my name! I am not an ‘Uppity Brown Car’ …You ruined my life!” With that, Mercedes jumped up and fled to her bedroom.
Mama went to her daughter’s door and softly said “There’s a reason for your special name, and some day, you will understand what it means.”
Mama had dinner ready and called for Mercedes to come out to eat. The 12 year old girl morosely sat down at the table. The TV news was showing children drinking from dirty brown water, the same water that they bathed in and used as a toilet.
“Gross! Why are they showing that?”
“There are people in the world who live in places that are like sewers, because they are so poor.”
“Why doesn’t someone help them?”
“Good question, Mercy. Not enough people care or are able to help other people in need. In fact, people in our own community live in a type of muddy filthy place because of their need for Jesus. Their hearts are polluted with sin. They need saving just as much as those people in other countries.”
Mercedes later pondered her mother’s words as she did her homework. Before going to bed, she put a load of laundry into the washer. Remembering the news story about those people washing their clothes in the dirty water, Mercedes began to pray.
“Dear God, please help those poor people. Amen.”
Mercedes was in her front yard, among a group of people surrounding a row of white washing machines.
Hearing a strange noise coming from one of the appliances, Mercedes walked over and peered inside.
“Ewww, gross!” Mercedes yelled out as she dropped the lid.
However, she kept hearing sounds coming from inside the washer. Gingerly, she opened the lid and peered inside. The filthy brown water was swirling, and Mercedes heard crying babies coming from within the depths of the fetid water.
“Someone, please help! The babies will drown!”
She was ignored, because nobody cared. Finally, when she realized no one else would rescue the children, Mercy plunged her arm into the cold putrid water.
Screaming in horror, Mercedes woke up in her bed “A dream? It was only a dream? But it seemed so real!”
“Mercy? What’s wrong? Why are you screaming?”
Mercedes told her mother about the dream. Mama tucked her daughter under the blankets and stroked her hair.
“Let me tell you a story. You know that when your daddy, died I was pregnant with you and felt very sad and alone. Every night, I prayed for God to give me a reason to keep going. I loved reading my Bible and was especially drawn to this verse:
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock, and he gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord”
Psalm 40:1-3. (NIV)
“After reading that verse, I felt God was telling me that He would give me joy in life once again. It was at that time that I realized that God showed his mercy to me for allowing you to come into my life. Therefore, I wanted to name you Mercy as a reminder of God’s wonderful grace.”
“Sweet! Maybe God wants me to help people when I grow up!”
“Mercedes, you can help people now! Having mercy means having compassion. You can have compassion on the kids that you go to school with, because you may never know what is going on inside their hearts. You can be proud of your name, because you are being a servant for God!”
“You know what, Mama? I love my name!”
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